8 January 2023

Armed drones in Indian military: Can machines understand the rules of war?

Abhijit Singh

India is on a drive to induct unmanned combat systems into the military. Months after the Indian Army announced the induction of “swarm drones” into its mechanised forces, the Navy chief, Admiral R Hari Kumar, reiterated the importance of autonomous systems in creating a “future-proof” Indian Navy (IN). Speaking at the Navy Day press conference last month, Admiral Kumar listed initiatives to bolster the Navy’s operational prowess, including a move to procure a fleet of armed “Predator” drones from the United States. It is incumbent on the IN, he said, to keep a close eye on the movements of Chinese vessels in the Indian Ocean Region. Military drones are important assets in “navigating the turbulent security situation” in the littorals.

The IN, indeed, has been on a mission to expand surveillance in India’s near-seas. Two years after it leased MQ-9B Sea Guardian drones from the US, the navy, in July 2022, released an unclassified version of its “unmanned roadmap” for the induction of remote autonomous platforms, including undersea vehicles. A key driver for the enterprise is underwater domain awareness, deemed an increasingly vital component of maritime deterrence in the Eastern Indian Ocean. In the aftermath of the conflict in Ladakh in June 2020, there is a growing sense among Indian experts and military planners that China’s undersea presence in the Indian Ocean is on the cusp of crossing a critical threshold. Recent reports of the sighting of Chinese drones in the waters off Indonesian islands suggest the Peoples Liberation Army Navy has been studying the operating environment of the Indian Ocean. Already, there has been a rise in the deployment of Chinese research and survey vessels in the waters around India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Ever more alive to the dangers posed by foreign undersea presence in Indian waters, the IN sought to acquire its own autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) with twin surveillance and strike capabilities.

Taliban Settle Oil Deal With Chinese Company

Catherine Putz

On January 5, the Taliban held a televised ceremony heralding the signing of the group’s first international agreement since taking over in August 2021. The agreement signed is a contract with a Chinese company for the exploitation of oil reserves in Afghanistan’s north.

Chinese Ambassador to Afghanistan Wang Yu praised the signing, saying, “The Amu Darya oil project is an important project of practical cooperation between China and Afghanistan.” He went on to say, “The progress of this project has created a model for China-Afghanistan cooperation in major projects in energy and other fields.”

Under the deal, Xinjiang Central Asia Petroleum and Gas Co (CAPEIC) will invest $150 million a year in Afghanistan, increasing to $540 million in three years for the 25-year contract. The project targets a 4,500 square kilometer area that stretches across three provinces in Afghanistan’s north: Sar-e Pol, Jowzjan, and Faryab. The latter two border Turkmenistan.

The Taliban government’s Acting Minister of Minerals and Petroleum Shahabuddin Dilawar said that the Taliban will have a 20 percent partnership stake in the project, with the ability to increase that to 75 percent. He said the first three years of the project would be “exploratory,” claiming that “[a]t least 1,000 to 20,000 tons of oil will be extracted.”

Does the China factor still matter to Taiwanese voters?

Hsien-Ming Lin

After a competitive election campaign lasting nearly half a year, the 2022 Taiwanese local elections wrapped up on 26 November 2022. The election outcome disappointed supporters of the current ruling party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which won only five of 22 city and county mayor’s positions. The major opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT), won 13 mayoral positions, including the four metropolitan cities of Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan and Taichung.

The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), a small opposition party with indirect political support from the KMT, won its first mayoral position in Hsinchu city. Chung Tung-chin, elected as mayor of Miaoli County, also has KMT party membership. Taking Hsinchu city and Miaoli County into account, the KMT will directly or indirectly control the governance of 15 Taiwanese cities. All told, the election was an overwhelming victory for the KMT.

Taiwan does not have exit polls that could inform analysis of voting behaviour. But it is likely that poor governance, economic crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic and the failure to motivate young supporters to vote were critical factors behind the DPP’s election losses.

Taiwan managed the pandemic successfully in 2020–2021 when there was only a limited number of confirmed cases. But President Tsai Ing-wen’s government had difficulties obtaining adequate COVID-19 vaccines due to the political boycott from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the domestic political competition between the DPP and KMT. As the number of confirmed cases increased, many Facebook users expressed their discontent and left angry messages on the Ministry of Health and Welfare webpage.

A roadmap for US-China relations in 2023

Ryan Hass

China’s leaders confront mounting domestic social, economic, and public health-related stresses in 2023. If past is prologue, it is reasonable to expect China’s leaders will respond by seeking to calm their external environment to concentrate on challenges at home. To help counter scrutiny of their domestic governance record, they will want to present an image to their people of being afforded dignity and respect abroad. Nowhere will such symbolism matter more than in the U.S.-China context. How China’s leaders are seen to be managing relations with the United States often is a factor in how their performance is perceived at home. Even as the broadly competitive framework of the U.S.-China relationship is unlikely to change, opportunities may emerge for the United States to advance discrete affirmative priorities with China in the year ahead.

To be clear, there are no credible indicators of any softening in China’s foreign policy toward the United States, nor any accommodation of American concerns about Chinese behavior. In his 20th Party Congress work report, President Xi Jinping emphasized repeatedly that China will need to “struggle” in the face of Western opposition to China’s rise. Other Chinese officials similarly echoed at the Party Congress that the spirit of “struggle” will define the country’s foreign policy.


If anything, China in the coming year likely will double-down on its pressure on Taiwan and its efforts to impose its will on Hong Kong. Beijing will continue to exert an iron fist against any hints of domestic dissent. It will maintain a tight grip over regions with large minority ethnic populations, including Xinjiang, Tibet, and Inner Mongolia. Beijing will continue to favor state intervention in its economy and likely will intensify efforts to acquire intellectual property from abroad by hook or crook. China’s diplomatic activism is unlikely to abate. The People’s Liberation Army will expand its range and frequency of operations as its capabilities grow. China will not do the United States any favors on North Korea. Xi also will continue to invest in his — and China’s — relationship with Putin and Russia.

Does China Want To Dominate Asia Or The World?

Doug Bandow

The statement that China poses a serious challenge, if not a dangerous threat, to the U.S. is one of the few consensus beliefs in Washington. Today the best way to build bipartisan support for legislation on Capitol Hill is to claim that it bolsters America’s defenses against Beijing.

What makes the People’s Republic of China unique is its size. If China was more like other nations, it would present as an annoyance, not a crisis. Liberal-minded people and governments worldwide never had to consider what to do about, say, Franco’s Spain, the horrid Eritrean dystopia, or assorted Central Asian tyrannies. These regimes created serious problems for their own citizens, but not much beyond.

In contrast, the 20th Century’s two most aggressive totalitarian death states, Adolf Hitler’s Germany and Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union, presented very different challenges. Ability and ambition merged to create an uncommon international danger that required collective action. Still, their relatively modest economies and populations ultimately limited their capabilities, despite the great evil that they tragically accomplished.

The original PRC, which emerged in 1949, was uncommonly prolific in killing its own citizens but largely limited its depredations beyond its own borders. Even the island of Taiwan, but 100 miles offshore, was beyond Beijing’s reach. But what of today’s Chinese incarnation?
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What The West Misunderstands About Power In China


BEIJING — China is often portrayed as a monolithic authoritarian country, with the whole government acting on the command of a few top leaders. But this is a very large country — as large as the entire European continent. No ruler can govern alone. For most ordinary Chinese, Beijing is as distant and abstract as Washington for someone in rural Arkansas or Colorado. As an old Chinese proverb goes: “Mountains are high, and the emperor is far away.”

Instead, the government officials with the most impact on ordinary Chinese people’s lives are local officials, whose policies they interact with on a daily basis. Understanding how these administrations work not only reveals much about how nearly a fifth of humanity lives and is governed, but also helps to disrupt some commonly held myths and misperceptions about Chinese politics.

China has five levels of government. Under the national administration, there are 31 province-level regions, then 333 municipalities, 2,800 counties and, finally, at the bottom, more than 40,000 townships. Within each jurisdiction, leaders enjoy considerable autonomy over economic and social policymaking. They govern like national leaders, only with a reduced sphere of influence.

How Climate Change Helps Violent Nonstate Actors


Climate change and the responses to it are likely to provide more openings for violent nonstate actors (VNSAs) to exert power. In short, this is because climate impacts can impair governance in ways that reduce state capacity and legitimacy, intensify competition for resources and livable territory, and necessitate invidious policies. Nonstate actors could respond to these developments by using violence, either to influence state behavior or to replace the role of the state in certain areas.

This essay identifies six climate-related factors that will create openings and drive demand for VNSAs, a category that includes de facto states, insurgencies, criminal groups, warlord-led groups, private security companies, paramilitaries, and terrorists.

The six factors are:Food, water, and energy crises that undermine state capacity and legitimacy
More environmentally inhospitable areas
More invidious restrictions on resources
Higher demand for people smugglers and armed border guards
Chaos and injustice after climate-exacerbated disasters
Anger at those responsible for climate change

Will 2023 be a better year for international peace and public health?


Armed conflict, not peace, defined 2022, thanks to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and raging wars elsewhere, from Yemen and Syria to Ethiopia. Internal conflict, meanwhile, exacerbated in several countries, from the Pakistan-Afghanistan belt to Myanmar and Nigeria.

But what has stood out is the international fallout from the war in Ukraine, which, by contributing to global energy and food crises, has affected countries across the world.

Will 2023 be a better year for international peace and stability? And is there any prospect of the global energy and food crises easing and the COVID-19 pandemic finally coming under full control?

The disruption in global energy markets, which has led to soaring energy prices, is largely linked to Europe’s rapid shift away from cheap Russian energy, which long powered its growth. Given that the European Union accounts for 11 percent of global energy consumption, its switch to alternative sources at a time when international oil and LNG supplies are already tight is having an adverse global impact.

Trends That Will Define the Coming Years

Antonia Colibasanu

The world is always changing, but some changes are more important than others. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will likely be remembered as the start of a new era in geoeconomics. In response to the war, the West launched sanctions against Russia, escalating the economic war the Kremlin began when it blocked Ukraine from trading with the world through its ports. Moscow answered by drastically reducing natural gas exports to Europe. The uncertainty and tit-for-tat measures kicked off an energy crisis. And the war renewed focus on the growing divide between the West and a nascent revisionist bloc led by China and Russia. It is difficult to see a path back to the status quo ante bellum, but several major trends that will define the next decade have become clear.

Protectionism and Global Realignment

For years before COVID-19, China, Russia, Iran and North Korea challenged the economic, financial, security and/or geopolitical order that the United States and its allies created after World War II. The era of relentless globalization had started to slow or even reverse. The pandemic kicked things into overdrive, accelerating reshoring and so-called friendshoring and depriving developing economies of foreign investment.

The war in Ukraine and its economic aftereffects are squeezing developing countries even more. In 2022, most of them put off making a choice between the West and Russia, hoping for a resolution to the conflict that would ease their economic pain. A case in point is Hungary, which, like many of these countries, depends on Russian energy and other commodities to sustain its economy and thus is wary of breaking ties with Moscow. Budapest has sought to slow the progression of Western sanctions against Russia. Others have avoided adopting anti-Russia sanctions altogether.

The time is now to question how NATO should look post Ukraine


The war in Ukraine doesn’t look like it will end anytime soon. But there are plenty of lessons to be learned from the conflict, and planners in the NATO nations should be thinking them through. In this op-ed, Joshua Huminski of the Center for the Study of the Presidency & Congress lays out the key points he believes NATO officials should be thinking about now.

In the Ukraine war, NATO’s success (by proxy) and Russia’s weakness presents an opportunity to reconsider the very force structure and design of the alliance. But that very success runs the risk of creating complacency. Seizing this moment requires Washington, Brussels, and European capitals to recognize the opportunity’s presence and act with alacrity, and not allowing the feared “brain death” of NATO to reemerge.

Perhaps the first and most pressing question that must be answered is what NATO’s purpose will be when the war in Ukraine eventually ends. The clearest answer is, naturally, returning to collective defense, focusing on European security, and deterring Russia. But bolstered by the additions of Sweden and Finland and the effective support against Moscow, leadership needs to ensure NATO doesn’t follow the path of the US national guard and become the solution for everything that has a security tie.

Could Africa replace China as the world’s source of rare earth elements?

Gracelin Baskaran

Rare earth elements—a group of 17 metals—are critical for both human and national security. They are used in electronics (computers, televisions and smart phones), in renewable energy technology (wind turbines, solar panels, and electric vehicle batteries), and in national defense (jet engines, missile guidance and defense systems, satellites, GPS equipment, and more). In 2021, global demand for rare earths reached 125,000 metric tons. By 2030, it is forecast to reach 315,000 tons.

Concerningly, production of these rare earth minerals has remained concentrated. China has a dominant hold on the market—with 60% of global production and 85% of processing capacity. In light of growing geopolitical tensions around China and Taiwan, the U.S, Australia, Canada, and other countries are seeking to reduce their reliance on China as a source of rare earths production and processing.

This opens up a window of opportunity for African countries. With their rich endowment of key commodities, African countries can leverage this search for new sources of rare earth elements to bring in much-needed revenue to finance core socioeconomic objectives and reduce poverty, utilize the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to improve value addition, and strengthen global trade partnerships.

The Elusive Presence of Technology in Israel’s Strategic Security Thinking

Eviatar Matania, Oren Podhorzer, Nir Daniel


The overarching view in Israel among decision makers, academics and the lay public regarding technology in general and military technology in particular vis-à-vis national security and military security are: Science and technology are vital infrastructure for a developed nation and a central component of Israel’s national security in the broadest sense; technology is considered a decisive element for every military’s efforts to gain the upper hand on the battlefield; because Israel suffers from severe quantitative asymmetry against its enemies, technology is particularly essential to achieve the military superiority necessary for its survival; Israel has had a decided technological edge over its environment for many years; it has an advanced technological posture globally with leading science and technology industries, and a particularly significant posture in military technology based on excellent independent R&D.

Indeed, over the years the understanding that technological superiority and outstanding scientific-technological human capital are significant elements in maintaining the edge over rivals has increased and become a fundamental component of Israel’s security strategy, in the broad sense and in the military-security sense (Ben-Israel, 2013; Ben-Israel et al., 2020, pp. 8-21; Matania, 2022; Finkel & Friedman, 2016; Eilam, 2009, pp. 497-508; Amidror, 2020).

Creating and maintaining a leading technological posture requires steady, long-term investments in academic scientific infrastructure, technology systems infrastructure, and human capital, which constitute the foundation on which technological force buildup is possible. Such investments bear fruit only many years later, sometimes only after a decade or more. For example, investments in scientific and technological human capital in Israel prior to the establishment of the state were what enabled independent R&D in the decades after its establishment. Investments in human capital in the first decades of the state’s existence were the foundation on which it was possible to achieve military and technological superiority from the 1990s onward, and were one of the components that allowed Israel to become a hub of technological innovation (Matania, 2022).

Conflicts to Watch in 2023

Paul B. Stares

The world took a dangerous turn in 2022. High-intensity conflict broke out in Europe—something widely considered unimaginable just a few years ago—while tensions continue to escalate between the United States and China over Taiwan. Meanwhile, the potential for conflict on the Korean peninsula and between Iran and Israel remains high. Interstate warfare, and the potential for its escalation, features prominantly in the Council on Foreign Relations’ (CFR) fifteenth annual Preventive Priorities Survey.

Conducted by CFR’s Center for Preventive Action (CPA) in November, the survey asks foreign policy experts to evaluate thirty ongoing or potential violent conflicts based on their likelihood of occurring or escalating this year, as well as their possible impact on U.S. interests.

The majority of Tier I contingencies now concern either potential flashpoints involving the major powers (e.g., a crossstrait crisis around Taiwan, escalation of the war in Ukraine, and instability in Russia) or nuclear weapons development by Iran and North Korea. The risk of the United States becoming embroiled in a military confrontation with either China or Russia (and conceivably both simultaneously) has risen. Although no Tier I contingency was judged to be very likely in 2023, it is still sobering that each was given an even chance of occurring.

Microsoft to challenge Google by integrating ChatGPT with Bing search


Microsoft is reportedly planning to launch a version of Bing that uses ChatGPT to answer search queries. The Information reports that Microsoft hopes to launch the new feature before the end of March in a bid to make Bing more competitive with Google.

By using the technology behind ChatGPT — which is built by AI company OpenAI — Bing could provide more humanlike answers to questions instead of just links to information. Both Google and Bing already surface relevant information from links at the top of many search queries, but Google’s knowledge panels are particularly widespread when it comes to searching for information about people, places, organizations, and things.

Microsoft’s use of ChatGPT-like functionality could help Bing rival Google’s Knowledge Graph, a knowledge base that Google uses to serve up instant answers that are regularly updated from crawling the web and user feedback. If Microsoft is ambitious, though, it could even go much further, offering many new types of AI-based functionality.

ChatGPT has already made AI accessible

ChatGPT brought conversational AI to the mainstream last year, letting users create poems, compose college essays, write code, and even shave hours off their work. Based on GPT-3.5, a large language model released last year, ChatGPT has wowed the web with its ability to generate answers and authentic-looking essays across an array of topics. But for all its skills, the system still has major flaws — including racial biases and a tendency to present incorrect information as true fact.

How the Ukraine Crisis Can Be Solved

Christian Whiton

To end the war in Ukraine in the near future, Washington will have to negotiate directly with Moscow. The sooner it does so, the better. And if the Biden administration is unwilling to take this step, perhaps Republicans can finally field a foreign policy that is differentiated from that of the Democrats.

The Biden administration believes that Ukraine has been a good issue for it, helping to obscure U.S. humiliation in Afghanistan and other disappointments around the world. However, this conflict remains, to borrow a quote from General Omar Bradley, “The wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time, and with the wrong enemy.”

America is in a critical contest with China, which seeks to reign supreme in a world that would be compelled to follow its model of high-tech tyranny. The Ukraine War has demonstrated the limits of Russia’s conventional military power and proven again that many European governments will never adequately fund their own defense if they expect America to step in with arms and borrowed money.

Ukraine is not willing to negotiate seriously on its own. Even though its president told a joint session of Congress that Ukraine is willing to negotiate, and Moscow is not, reality is more complicated. Neither side appears ready to make territorial concessions, without which a negotiated settlement seems unlikely. While Ukraine’s position is based on a strong moral case, Kyiv has little ability to continue fighting a large-scale war—much less reconquer lost territory—without substantial and continuing U.S. assistance, including American weapons, ammunition, intelligence, operational advice, and money.

Michael Brodsky: Can Ukraine become a 'big Israel'?

Michael Brodsky

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has resulted in devastating damage to the country’s physical, economic, and human infrastructure. Thousands of civilians have been killed. Millions of people have become refugees. A big part of the population is suffering from psychological trauma.

Although the outcome of the war is still uncertain, one can start thinking about the future recovery of Ukraine.

The reconstruction of Ukraine offers a unique opportunity to rebuild the country in a modern and secure manner.

In April 2022, shortly after Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine began, President Volodymyr Zelensky declared that Ukraine would become a “‘big Israel' with its own face.”

But how exactly will Ukraine become a “big Israel”? Which Israeli practices, which know-how, and which technologies will it adopt in order to become -- like Israel -- a strong and successful country despite the ongoing security threat?

‘Let’s Make a Deal’? Ukraine and the Poor Prospects for Negotiations with Putin

Frank G. Hoffman

Editor’s note: The Russian invasion of Ukraine has arguably been the most significant geopolitical event of 2022. Beginning with Dov Zakheim’s comments in the Spring 2022 issue, Orbis authors have discussed the ramifications of the invasion. As we approach the one-year anniversary, Revisiting Orbis will be offering updated commentary from its contributors, starting with this first essay from Frank Hoffman.

What would Monty Hall say about the odds of a peace deal in Ukraine? I am probably dating myself in this reference to a popular TV show from the 1960s. Hall was the show’s host which was based on colorfully dressed contestants being asked to select between different options. The selected audience members had to make choices between something presented at hand before them like a large amount of cash or something hidden behind a curtain. The prizes included consumer items like cars, jewelry or vacation trips, or gag items like a goat. Those that guessed wrong went home empty-handed or with their goat.

The combatants in Ukraine face a similar choice. Should they take what they have or hold out for a nicer prize? This article will explore the ongoing debate about the potential dangers associated with negotiating an end to the Russo-Ukraine war. There are several advocates calling for a deal but few ideas on what the negotiations should include. In fact, many Western analysts seem to think it is entirely an affair between the combatants. This ignores the strategic interests NATO and other contributors have in the endgame, and the costs and huge risks they are incurring. After outlining the debate and some potential implications, a framework for a deal is offered. It is a notional agreement as a starting point, and it crosses announced red lines from both antagonists.

Numbers Game: 2023 Could Be A Decisive Year For Ukraine

Andrew A. Michta

In less than two months, the war in Ukraine will reach its first anniversary. The very fact that Ukraine exceeded expectations both when it came to the performance of its armed forces and the overall resilience of the Ukrainian nation should be celebrated. While there is no question that Ukraine is determined to fight on, at the same time – by all indicationsPutin and his cohort in Moscow have doubled down on their commitment to prevail.

This is now a war of attrition, and although on paper it would seem that Moscow has an advantage in terms of its population and territory, in this war other factors may prove decisive, namely, the human factor and ammunition.

The war in Ukraine has shown the critical importance of the human factor in war. It has revealed how dangerous and destructive the megalomania of a dictator can be, especially someone who has been in power a long time. Or how the corruption circulating through Russia’s bloodstream can generate consistently skewed intelligence assessments of the country’s military capabilities and prompt Putin to overreach.

More than anything else, and contrary to the “Realist” paradigm in Political Science, Ukraine has shown yet again what a mobilized free and patriotic people can accomplish when their home is attacked and their fellow citizens murdered.
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How Threatening Are Threats?


PALO ALTO – From climate-change alarms and “tripledemic” concerns to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock, we are awash in dire warnings. News and social media alert us daily to the dangers of everything from nefarious politicians to natural disasters. All of these warnings – some sincere, some manufactured – are lighting up not only our smartphones but also our brains, prompting us to ask how all the “threat talk” might be affecting us psychologically and socially.

To cut through the hysteria and improve our understanding of credible threats, we and our colleagues have created a “threat dictionary” that uses natural language processing to index threat levels from mass communication channels. In research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, we demonstrate the tool’s use both in identifying invisible historical threat patterns and in potentially predicting future behavior. (The tool is publicly available to anyone who wants to measure the degree of threat language present in any English-language text.)

The threat dictionary builds on past survey research into how chronic threats lead societies to “tighten up” culturally, by imposing strict rules and strong punishments for those who violate them. We have found evidence of a tight/loose divide in all forms of cultures – including between countries (think Singapore versus Brazil), subnational states (Alabama versus New York), organizations (accounting firms versus startups), and social classes (lower versus upper). Yet we previously lacked a reliable linguistic measure for tracking threat-related talk over time, and for evaluating its relationship to cultural, political, and economic trends.

OPINION: Ukraine’s 100 Years of Solitude Are Over

Bohdan Nahaylo

The moment of truth has arrived. Western naivety about Russia, its history, culture, and motives, has been finally exposed and is being reckoned with.

Russia has lost its pretentious standing as an international colossus, and the fig leaf of “great culture” and of a self-exalted champion against fascism and for the rights of former colonies has been virtually blown away.

The emperor – not just would-be latter-day Tsar Putin, but the entire atavistic Russian autocratic and imperial ethos – has been exposed as naked, ugly, toxic and highly dangerous.

Brandishing nuclear weapons – like saber-rattling and mobilizing mass armies in the past – is not a sign of strength, let alone superiority. Rather, it reflects a bullying mentality seeking to cover up serious inadequacies and specious claims.

Moreover, Russia has been faking it in the spheres that really count: respect for progressive civilizational values and norms where equality and rights are respected, including national self-determination and self-identification, preference of democracy over autocracy, rule of law at home and in the international order, truth and reality over deception and self-delusion, and security over constant insecurity.

Digitalization and transparency are vital for Ukraine’s reconstruction

Oleksandra Azarkhina

When you have become used to constant power cuts, regular air raid alerts, and the empty evening streets of Kyiv, a business trip to the United States can feel like being transported to another dimension entirely. However, when I visited Washington DC in the final weeks of 2022, I soon found that the situation in Ukraine was high on the local agenda.

During my brief time in the US, I held over 30 meetings with government officials as well as representatives of the defense, financial, and non-profit sectors. All were deeply immersed in the challenges facing Ukraine and were ready to offer genuine support. Topics of discussion included efforts to boost Ukrainian food exports, strengthen the country’s air defense systems, and facilitate the future reconstruction of Ukraine.

Every conversation also featured an anti-corruption component. This is essential in order to build the kind of transparent and effective partnerships that will help Ukraine move forward. Success will depend on a combination of the right systems and suitably qualified personnel.

Digital tools can play a key role in this process. Ukraine’s reputation as a digital innovator is already recognized across the Atlantic. Two years ago, Ukraine became the world’s first country to grant legal status to electronic passports for domestic use. Hundreds of public services for private citizens and businesses can already be accessed online. More recently, Ukraine occupied second place in Europe for data openness in the 2022 Open Data Maturity ranking.

Pentagon Builds "Breakthrough" Cyber Security for Armed Combat Vehicles


(Washington D.C.) Military vehicles, aircraft and ships in combat often have seconds, or even less, to identify and destroy an emerging enemy target, a technical ability now more possible due to the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled computing and multi-domain targeting systems. However, this paradigm-changing advantage can be complicated or offset by new risks, as extended multi-domain networks need to be hardened against cyber threats across unprecedented distances and technical formats.

Instant, unanticipated cyberattacks can increasingly cripple military operations in a matter of seconds by jamming networks, intercepting and corrupting time-critical warfare data, intruding into and denying cyber network operations, derailing targeting sensors and weapons guidance systems, or simply disabling vital, interconnected operational networks.

This well-known scenario is a key reason why the Pentagon has in recent years massively revved up its cybersecurity emphasis through applying new technologies, seeking to “bake in” cyber resilience earlier in a system’s development and prototyping process, and integrate a new generation of network protections and security protocols.

Cops Hacked Thousands of Phones. Was It Legal?

FOR A WEEK in October 2020, Christian Lödden’s potential clients wanted to talk about only one thing. Every person whom the German criminal defense lawyer spoke to had been using the encrypted phone network EncroChat and was worried their devices had been hacked, potentially exposing crimes they may have committed. “I had 20 meetings like this,” Lödden says. “Then I realized—oh my gosh—the flood is coming.”

Months earlier, police across Europe, led by French and Dutch forces, revealed they had compromised the EncroChat network. Malware the police secretly planted into the encrypted system siphoned off more than 100 million messages, laying bare the inner workings of the criminal underground. People openly talked about drug deals, organized kidnappings, planned murders, and worse.

The hack, one of the largest ever conducted by police, was an intelligence gold mine—with hundreds arrested, homes raided, and thousands of kilograms of drugs seized. But it was just the beginning. Fast-forward two years, and thousands of EncroChat users across Europe—including in the UK, Germany, France, and the Netherlands—are in jail.

Best AI writers of 2023

Anna Sevilla, Mike Jennings

The best AI writers make it simple and easy to autogenerate content for your blog, website, or social media profiles.

It doesn’t matter what kind of website you run – if you want it to be successful, you’ll need good written content. And if you don’t have the time, money, or linguistic skill to produce it yourself or hire a freelancer, it’s easy to get the job done with an AI writing tool instead.

The best writing utilities make it easy to create automated content – whether you need blog posts, articles, or adverts. And, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, writing tools have never been so effective when it comes to producing high-quality copy in a wide variety of formats and subjects.

There are huge advantages to using one of the best AI writing tools to produce content. You’ll save time and cash, for starters, and you’ll still produce top-tier writing for your blog or website. Human intervention may extend to some editing before you upload, especially if you need to generate niche or specialist content, but that’s about it.

Open-Source Intelligence and the War in Ukraine

Tamir Hayman

“The First Digital War”

The war in Ukraine can be seen as “the first digital war” in history. This term does not refer to fighting abilities based on advanced technology, but rather highlights the dynamic arena in the digital space, close to the battlefield and sometimes within it, with the participation of millions of people and commercial organizations connected to the internet.

The mission of intelligence organizations in war is to gather as much information about the enemy and dispel the fog of battle. Today, in the open space it is possible to find commercial satellite photos, technical data collected by media companies (location, activity loads), and a range of content collected and published by individuals on social media. Most of the information used by Ukraine in advance of and during the Russian military invasion was found in the open-source intelligence (OSINT) space. Since the information was largely unclassified, it was possible to analyze it with the help of advanced processing capabilities based on artificial intelligence and developed by the technology giants in the private sector. Data processed in the United States and Britain was easily shared with intelligence organizations worldwide, and particularly in Ukraine, without the policy barriers so familiar to intelligence agents from their routine work. The collected information provided a high-quality response to questions about the Russian invasion such as when and where, and what was the expected scope.

In the digital war, the winner will be the side that is quicker to understand how to exploit the potential of this open space.

Generative AI is here: How tools like ChatGPT could change your business

Michael Chui, Roger Roberts, and Lareina Yee

In the spirit of this article’s topic, we asked ChatGPT—a generative AI language model that can create original content in response to a user prompt—how it would set the context. Our prompt to the system:

Write the opening paragraph for an article about how transformative generative AI will be for business, in the style of McKinsey & Company.

ChatGPT’s response:

The rise of generative AI has the potential to be a major game-changer for businesses. This technology, which allows for the creation of original content by learning from existing data, has the power to revolutionize industries and transform the way companies operate. By enabling the automation of many tasks that were previously done by humans, generative AI has the potential to increase efficiency and productivity, reduce costs, and open up new opportunities for growth. As such, businesses that are able to effectively leverage the technology are likely to gain a significant competitive advantage.

Not perfect but overwhelmingly impressive.

For us and many executives we’ve spoken to recently, entering one prompt into ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, was all it took to see the power of generative AI. In the first five days of its release, more than a million users logged into the platform to experience it for themselves. OpenAI’s servers can barely keep up with demand, regularly flashing a message that users need to return later when server capacity frees up.

New Quantum Computing Architecture Could Be Used To Connect Large-Scale Devices

Quantum computers hold the promise of performing certain tasks that are intractable even on the world’s most powerful supercomputers. In the future, scientists anticipate using quantum computing to emulate materials systems, simulate quantum chemistry, and optimize hard tasks, with impacts potentially spanning finance to pharmaceuticals.

However, realizing this promise requires resilient and extensible hardware. One challenge in building a large-scale quantum computer is that researchers must find an effective way to interconnect quantum information nodes — smaller-scale processing nodes separated across a computer chip. Because quantum computers are fundamentally different from classical computers, conventional techniques used to communicate electronic information do not directly translate to quantum devices. However, one requirement is certain: Whether via a classical or a quantum interconnect, the carried information must be transmitted and received.

To this end, MIT researchers have developed a quantum computing architecture that will enable extensible, high-fidelity communication between superconducting quantum processors. In work published in Nature Physics, MIT researchers demonstrate step one, the deterministic emission of single photons — information carriers — in a user-specified direction. Their method ensures quantum information flows in the correct direction more than 96 percent of the time.

Did smartphones get dozens of Russian soldiers killed? Armies around the world are struggling to keep troops off their phones.

Joshua Keating

The global proliferation of smartphones has been blamed for a host of social ills, from isolation among teens to skyrocketing numbers of traffic accidents. But troops using their phones during wartime face a different danger: Every call, text or TikTok could make them a target.

Russian officials and state media outlets have been grasping for answers as to how Ukraine could have killed dozens — or, going by Ukrainian accounts, hundreds — of Russian troops in a single rocket attack on a barracks in Makiivka, in the occupied Donetsk region, on New Year’s Day. On Wednesday, the Russian Defense Ministry gave its answer: Military personnel using cellphones, in violation of an official ban, was the “main reason” the Ukrainians were able to locate and destroy the facility.

For what it’s worth, some commentators and Russian bloggers question this narrative, saying it’s a way for commanders to deflect blame for the failure onto rank-and-file troops. But there’s no question that cellphones — and the nonstop stream of data they emit — have posed a consistent problem for the Russian military since the initial invasion last year. And it’s not just a Russian problem: other militaries around the world have faced similar issues.
Have phone, will travel


Zachary Kallenborn

On October 29, Ukraine deployed a total of sixteen drones in an attack on the Russian Black Sea Fleet. The extent of the physical damage inflicted by the attack is unclear, though a Russian minehunter and a frigate appear to have been damaged. But the larger psychological effects were significant: Russia appears to have withdrawn many of its ships, moving them to more secure ports, which limits the firepower and presence they can provide. Russia also upgraded the defenses of those ports, adding numerous booms throughout the area. But that didn’t stop another Ukrainian attack with unmanned vehicles on Novorossiysk a couple weeks later.

Perhaps the most surprising thing is that only nine of the vehicles involved in the October attack were UAVs—unmanned aerial vehicles. The other seven were USVs, unmanned surface vehicles plying the waves as they approached their targets. The Novorossiysk attack was also conducted by a USV. The involvement of USVs might come as a surprise, given that the United States has just experienced two decades of warfighting that reinforced the habitual conceptualization of drone warfare as a phenomenon of the skies.

The attacks actually were not the first time USVs have caused harm. In January 2017, Houthi rebels used drone boats to cause serious damage to a Saudi frigate. Such attacks can be expected to increase in the future, because the technology is simply not that difficult. The Houthis fielded the technology as a nonstate actor (albeit a well-resourced, state-sponsored one), while the Ukrainian systems were simple modified jet skis. Plus, USVs are relatively low cost, can strike at sea level to encourage flooding in the target vessel, and can carry more explosives than a mine or torpedo. However, drone countermeasures are almost entirely focused on countering UAVs. A few references to countering nonaerial drones exist in the open-source literature, but they are fleeting.

Has the IDF Changed?

Ofer Shelah

The Battle before the War: The Inside Story of the IDF’s Transformation by Brig. Gen. Eran Ortal gives the reader a slightly awkward feeling, and on second reading—even more so. This feeling is intensified by the fact that the author has, since 2019, been the commander of the Dado Center for Interdisciplinary Military Studies. Ortal is therefore a senior contemporary practitioner within the IDF, who is offering us, as Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi says in his introduction to the book, “a glimpse into the intellectual machinery of the IDF in recent years” (p. 8).

The awkwardness is furthered by Kochavi’s introduction, where he writes that the book’s “greatest importance in my eyes is the systematic, developed discussion of the manner in which militaries in general and the IDF in particular can and should continue to examine themselves, develop and change…The book expresses the spirit of self-criticism and in-depth study that are expected from the senior command” (p. 8). This is an unfortunate description, given that the book does not even live up to its subtitle, let alone to the Chief of Staff’s praise. It is not a “story” because it doesn’t have an actual beginning or end, and it is hard to learn from the book whether the IDF has indeed changed, and if so how. The book is not systematic or developed, and is far more self-congratulatory than self-critical. In that sense it does reflect a certain sprit that is present in the IDF today—and that is what is most disturbing.