7 February 2023

iCET: Strengthening the India-US Tech Agenda

Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

Earlier this week, India and the United States launched the initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET) with its inaugural meeting in Washington, D.C. U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and his Indian counterpart, Ajit Doval, held the inaugural meeting along with the participation of senior officials from both countries, including the administrator of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the director of the National Science Foundation, the executive secretary of the National Space Council, and senior officials from the departments of state, commerce, defense, and the National Security Council.

From the Indian side, the ambassador of India to the United States, the principal scientific adviser to the government of India, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), the secretary of the department of telecommunications, the scientific advisor to the defense minister, the director general of the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), and senior officials from the ministry of electronics and information technology and the National Security Council secretariat participated in the meeting.

The iCET initiative was launched by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Joe Biden in May 2022 with the goal “to elevate and expand” Indo-U.S. “strategic technology partnership and defense industrial cooperation between the governments, businesses, and academic institutions” of the two countries. According to a White House fact sheet, the two leaders believe that India and the United States, being two democracies with common values and respect for human rights, should shape the way “technology is designed, developed, governed, and used” to enable “an open, accessible, and secure technology ecosystem, based on mutual trust and confidence, that will reinforce our democratic values and democratic institutions.”

The Persistent Threat of Nuclear Crises Among China, India and Pakistan

Daniel Markey

Southern Asia — India, Pakistan and China — is the only place on earth where three nuclear-armed states have recently engaged in violent confrontations along their contested borders. As a USIP senior study group report concluded last year, the problem of nuclear stability in Southern Asia is getting harder to manage because of geopolitical changes, such as rising India-China border tensions, as well as evolving military technologies, including growing nuclear arsenals and more capable delivery systems. Unfortunately, in the time since that senior study group completed its work, little has happened to revise its worrisome conclusion or to prevent the most likely triggering causes of a nuclearized crisis in Southern Asia. To the contrary, there are some good reasons to fear that the situation in Southern Asia has even deteriorated over the past year.

No One Wants Nuclear Escalation — But it Can Still Happen

To be clear, just because states invest in nuclear weapons and delivery systems does not mean that a crisis or war is imminent. Leaders in China, India and Pakistan have always viewed their nuclear arsenals primarily as tools of deterrence, less for practical warfighting than to convince adversaries of the extraordinary costs that a war would risk. Nor do any of the region’s leaders take their nuclear programs lightly; all feel tremendous incentives to keep their arsenals safe and secure and to build systems of command, control and communications intended to prevent accidents, unauthorized use or theft.

Afghanistan in 2023: Taliban internal power struggles and militancy

Vanda Felbab-Brown 

Afghanistan in 2023 will be shaped by whether or not the Taliban’s supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, retains his tight grip on all decisionmaking. The second crucial dynamic will be terrorism and militancy. The Taliban is unlikely to get a better handle on the Islamic State in Khorasan (ISK). But the feeble National Resistance Front (NRF) and other groups seeking to restore the Afghan Republic will not seriously threaten the Taliban’s rule. Two questions remain: Can the Taliban prevent significant defections? And can it contain terrorism emanating from Afghanistan, so external powers stay reluctant to support anti-Taliban groups?

Over the past year, the Taliban’s rule progressively hardened and became more authoritarian and dogmatically 1990s-like.

The Taliban’s exclusionary Pashtun-centered rule has turned highly repressive toward all forms of opposition. At the national level, it provides few job opportunities, let alone decisionmaking roles, for minorities and those associated with the fallen Afghan Republic.

Individual rights have been eviscerated, and women’s access to education, jobs, and even the public sphere for travel and medical care has been decimated.

The General Directorate of Intelligence (GDI) under Sirajuddin “Siraj” Haqqani’s Ministry of Interior, and the Ministry of the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, have become principal tools of repression.

Repeating the Republic’s mistakes and reversing the Taliban’s prior more decentralized processes, Taliban decisionmaking has become concentrated in the hands of a few – Amir Haibatullah and his Kandahar-based clique.

Wrestling with a Humanitarian Dilemma in Afghanistan

William Byrd

Recent decrees by the Taliban barring Afghan women from attending university or working in NGOs are severely damaging the country both socially and economically, especially coming atop a ban on girls’ secondary education last year. The marginalization of half the population also highlights the “humanitarian dilemma” that aid donors and international agencies face: Afghanistan is highly dependent on humanitarian assistance, not only for saving lives and easing deprivation but also to stabilize its economy. The quandary for international donors is what to do when alleviating suffering benefits the Afghan economy and thereby the Taliban regime, even when that regime is harming its own people?Taliban officials pray before distributing relief supplies in the Geyun district of Paktika Province, Afghanistan on June 23, 2022. (Kiana Hayeri/The New York Times)

Humanitarian aid — around $3 billion a year now compared to total civilian and security assistance of $8 billion-plus annually before 2021 — has taken over pre-2021 aid’s role in shoring up Afghanistan’s weak economy in addition, of course, to saving many lives. While a considerable portion of humanitarian assistance is provided in-kind (mainly basic foodstuffs), much of the aid reaches Afghanistan in monetary form for local cash transfers, contractual payments for goods and services, salaries and other expenses.

United Nations humanitarian cash shipments of U.S. dollars into Afghanistan average about $40 million a week — a total of $1.8 billion since they began in December 2021. These inflows, similar to or slightly more than the Afghan central bank’s pre-2021 imports of cash dollars, have replaced the latter in stabilizing the country’s economy.

Unlike before the Taliban takeover, this money no longer goes directly to the central bank (Da Afghanistan Bank, or DAB), now under Taliban control. Instead, deposits are made in a private commercial bank. U.N. agencies and implementing partners then withdraw the money in U.S. currency or after the bank has converted funds into afghanis to pay local costs.

The Fragile State of Pakistan

Aparna Pande

Pakistan enters 2023 in a perilous state. The coalition government that took over in April 2022 is finding it difficult to calm domestic politics, rescue the economy, bolster national security and craft effective foreign policy in the nuclear-armed South Asian nation of 231 million people.

The country’s all-powerful army has a new chief after six years, but it is not clear how he might influence the course of events. The fiery rhetoric of populist former Prime Minister Imran Khan, banned from holding elected office for five years because of alleged campaign finance violations, has cooled somewhat. But his attempts to dissolve two provincial assemblies where his party is in power are stoking political instability.

In August 2022, the $1.1 billion tranche of the International Monetary Fund bailout loan failed to stabilize Pakistan’s economy. The next tranche in the $7 billion agreement is on hold amid fears that yet another bailout may be needed in the near future.

The return to power of the Taliban in Afghanistan has created more dangers. A resurgent Pakistani Taliban has launched attacks across the nation, including a suicide bombing in the capital Islamabad. Pakistan’s relations with India are frozen in time, with the constant possibility of a flare-up in the event of a terror attack.

What to know about the suspected Chinese spy balloon

Sonnet Swire

A suspected Chinese surveillance balloon in the skies over the continental United States has sparked national security and diplomatic concerns, adding to already tense Washington-Beijing relations.

The incident prompted Secretary of State Antony Blinken to postpone his highly anticipated trip to China, saying Friday that the high-altitude Chinese balloon entering US airspace “created the conditions that undermine the purpose of the trip.”

Blinken dubbed it an “irresponsible act,” while China has said it “regrets” the “unintended entry” into US airspace.

The balloon could exit the East Coast of the United States as early as Saturday morning, based off of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather model.

Two US defense officials also told CNN that the balloon is expected to reach the East Coast and then pass out to sea in the southeast, near the Carolinas. One of the officials said it could exit the East Coast on Saturday.

Here’s the latest on the suspected Chinese spy balloon over the US:
Pentagon tracking the balloon

US officials have said the flight path of the balloon, first known to the public while over Montana on Thursday, could potentially take it over a “number of sensitive sites” and that they are taking steps to “protect against foreign intelligence collection.”

Peter Layton, a fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute in Australia and former Royal Australian Air Force officer, told CNN the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon is likely collecting information on US communication systems and radars.

Retired US Air Force Col. Cedric Leighton, a CNN military analyst, added that intelligence data collected by the balloon could be relayed in real time via a satellite link back to China.

What China wanted out of Blinken’s now postponed visit

Lily Kuo

Expectations were always low that a visit to Beijing by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken would have halted the downward trajectory of U.S.-China ties, since the two countries had always had fundamentally different objectives for the high-level meeting.

The two-day trip had been set to begin on Sunday when new tensions emerged ultimately leading it to be postponed. Pentagon officials disclosed the discovery of a possible Chinese spy balloon flying above the continental United States. The Chinese Foreign Ministry later described it as a “civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological purposes” that had been blown off course.

High-Flying Balloon Seen as Part of Broader Chinese Spy Program

Jennifer Jacobs and Jenny Leonard

The high-altitude balloon now floating at 60,000 feet over the continental US is part of a broader Chinese spying program that’s seen many such devices sent over the nation, including some during the Trump administration, according to US officials.

People familiar with the matter believe the balloon is maneuverable —because they’ve detected it changing course — and anticipate it will likely remain in US airspace for several more days. Nonetheless, they’ve decided not to try to shoot it down for now, arguing that the risk to the public of falling debris is too high as its payload is the size of several buses.

China says ‘spy’ balloon incident ‘hyped up’

Elizabeth Law

BEIJING - The threat of a Chinese balloon drifting over the United States has been overplayed by some American politicians and media to smear Beijing, China’s foreign ministry said on Saturday.

The comments come after US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken postponed a trip to Beijing to have taken place on Sunday, in light of the incident and following an outcry from lawmakers led by Republicans who have called on the Pentagon to shoot down the balloon. The US assessed it to have been a spy balloon, while the Chinese maintains it was for meteorological research.

“We have no intention to violate and has never violated the territory or airspace of any sovereign country,” China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

“Some politicians and media in the US have hyped it up to attack and smear China. The Chinese side is firmly opposed to that.”

But the ministry also adopted a mollifying tone, calling for contact and communication at all levels to be maintained and adding that it is a responsibility of the diplomatic teams to be able to handle such situations.

The ministry added that no visit had been officially announced by either side, a seeming signal that it was trying to downplay the deferment of Mr Blinken’s trip. “It is the US’ own business to release relevant information, and we respect that.”

In a separate statement, the ministry also said the top diplomats of both countries had spoken on Friday night about dealing with “accidental incidents in a calm and professional manner”.

“In the face of unexpected situations, what both parties need to do is to stay focused, communicate in a timely manner, avoid misjudgments, and manage and control differences,” said the Communist Party of China’s Central Foreign Affairs Commission director Wang Yi.

Suspected Chinese spy balloon shot down off South Carolina coast

U.S. fighter jets shot down the suspected Chinese spy balloon that had drifted across the United States for several days on Saturday, bringing an end to the opening chapter of a tense public standoff with Beijing over the intrusion into U.S. airspace.

The balloon was shot down off the coast of South Carolina shortly after 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, U.S. officials confirmed to CBS News. A senior defense official said an F-22 dispatched out of Langley Air Force Base took down the balloon with a single air-to-air missile.

Defense officials previously told CBS News that the surveillance equipment attached to the balloon was the size of two to three school buses. Its presence over U.S. airspace prompted a diplomatic dispute between Washington and Beijing, which has claimed the balloon was meant for observing weather conditions, a claim U.S. officials have refuted.

The Chinese foreign ministry on Sunday called the decision to shoot down the balloon "a clear overreaction and a serious violation of international practice."

"China will resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the company concerned, and reserves the right to make further responses if necessary," a statement by the foreign ministry said.

Senior Biden administration officials told CBS News that, after the balloon was shot down, the U.S government spoke directly with the Chinese government about the action.

Footage shared on Twitter showed the balloon falling from the sky. The senior defense official told CBS News that the balloon was about six nautical miles off the coast of South Carolina when it was shot down. There were no indications that any military personnel, civilian aircraft or maritime vessels were harmed, the official added.

China’s top 10 semiconductor firms

Arran Hope

The global semiconductor industry is valued at over half a trillion U.S. dollars, and its products — the microchips used in everything from cars to phones to ballistic missiles, affect every single person on the planet. Making chips is a highly complicated business that involves world-wide supply chains.

Advanced chip design is dominated by American firms. The chips themselves are mostly manufactured in Taiwan, China, and Malaysia, but this can only happen with equipment and chemicals sourced from Europe, Japan, and North America. An example of the complexities involved: To fabricate a wafer — a thin slice of semiconductor material on which an integrated circuit is printed to make a chip — requires over one thousand individual steps, four hundred or so different chemicals, and up to 50 separate types of equipment.

All the chips in China

In China alone, there are tens of thousands of semiconductor companies. The country is also the largest consumer of semiconductors in the world: in 2020, China bought 53.7% of the world supply of chips worth around $240 billion. However, this is yet to translate into Chinese domination of the industry as a whole — far from it. Although China makes plenty of lower-end chips, it remains dependent on foreign suppliers and foreign-owned technologies for the advanced semiconductors needed for phones, smart cars, artificial intelligence, and military applications.

Is China poised to help other unaligned powers usurp the dollar?

Amir Handjani

At the recent annual gathering of global elites in Davos, Saudi Foreign Minister Mohammad Al-Jaddan suggested that the kingdom was open to selling its energy exports to China in Renminbi.

This got the attention of petroleum economists and central bankers alike as both know that, for the last 48 years, Saudi Arabia and the other Persian Gulf Arab states have been pricing and selling their crude exports exclusively in U.S. dollars.

Indeed, it was Richard Nixon’s Treasury Secretary William Simon who struck what was then a secret plan with the Saudis to essentially bankroll America’s widening trade deficits by pricing their oil sales in greenbacks and thereby increasing the amount of dollars in circulation and enhancing the dollar’s position as the global reserve currency. In return, Saudi Arabia would have unique access to U.S. military assistance and equipment.

This bargain made a lot of sense when the United States was the world’s largest importer of Saudi crude. This is no longer the case today, however, as it has been supplanted by China. In fact, China is not only the largest importer of crude and petrochemicals from the kingdom, it is also the largest purchaser of crude and petroleum products from all the Persian Gulf countries.

Wake Up, America: China Is Overtaking the United States in Innovation Capacity

Ian Clay and Robert D. Atkinson


The last decade was marked by dramatic evolution in China’s innovation capabilities and strategies, much of which was driven by the transition of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and state leadership from Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping and the introduction of China’s latest major innovation policy framework: Made in China 2025 (MIC). This report updates an earlier ITIF report, applying more recent data to assess the progress China made during the previous decade with respect to the United States across a series of innovation indicators.1

Innovation means different things to different people, in part because there are so many different kinds of innovation. One kind is catch-up or copying innovation, wherein China has performed superbly. Another is new-to-the-world or frontier innovation. China’s capacity for the latter is one of the most important unknowns in the global economy. Many countries have tried and failed to make the transition from “imitator” to “innovator,” and China’s ability or inability to fully make that transition will largely define global geopolitical development in the decades to come. If China can surpass the United States in innovation—both catch-up and frontier—the global value chain (GVC) for the highest-value-added products stands to undergo a tremendous change. This would represent a serious economic and geopolitical challenge to the United States and its allies, particularly because of China’s predatory trade and innovation policy practices.

How to Get a Breakthrough in Ukraine

Michael McFaul

Nearly a year after he invaded Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has failed to achieve any of his major objectives. He has not unified the alleged single Slavic nation, he has not “denazified” or “demilitarized” Ukraine, and he has not stopped NATO expansion. Instead, the Ukrainian military kept Russian troops out of Kyiv, defended Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, and launched successful counteroffensives in the fall so that by the end of 2022, it had liberated over 50 percent of the territory previously captured by Russian soldiers that year. In January, Putin removed the general in charge of the war in Ukraine, Sergei Surovikin, whom he had appointed just a few months earlier. Wartime leaders change their top generals only when they know they are losing.

Ukraine is doing so well in part thanks to the unified Western response. Unlike reactions to Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008 or Ukraine in 2014, the Western pushback against Putin’s latest war has been strong along multiple fronts. NATO enhanced its eastern defenses and invited Sweden and Finland to join the alliance. Europe has provided shelter to hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees. Led by the Biden administration, the West has provided massive amounts of military and economic support at amazing speed, levied punishing sanctions, and begun a difficult shift away from Russian energy. Even Chinese leader Xi Jinping has offered Putin only faint rhetorical support for his war. He has not provided Russia with weapons and has cautiously avoided violating the global sanctions regime.

These are the reasons for optimism. The bad news, however, is that the war continues, and Putin has shown no signs of wanting to end it. Instead, he is planning a major counteroffensive this year. “The Russians are preparing some 200,000 fresh troops,” General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the commander in chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, warned in December. “I have no doubt they will have another go at Kyiv.” Even though Putin must understand by now that Ukrainians are willing to fight for as long as it takes to liberate their country, he still believes that time is on his side. That is because Putin expects Western governments and societies to lose their will and interest to keep helping Ukraine. If Putin or his aides watch the television personality Tucker Carlson on Fox News or saw the protests last fall in Prague, their hunch about waning Western support would be confirmed.

With dreams of JADC2, Pentagon relaunches AI-driven command & control experiments


Then-Lt. Col. Matt Strohmeyer briefs reporters on an Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) experiment in 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel Hernandez)

WASHINGTON — This week, after a year-plus hiatus in high-tech exercises in high-speed data sharing, the Pentagon kicked off a new Global Information Dominance Experiment. Building on GIDEs I through IV in 2021, GIDE V, running Monday through Thursday, is the first of a new series of four, even more intensive exercises that will run this year, the Pentagon’s Chief Digital & Artificial Intelligence Officer announced.

Everyone who’s anyone is coming to this party: “Our experimentation teams are comprised of military and civilian leaders from across all service branches, all eleven combatant commands, technology vendors and international allies,” the exercise commander, Col. Matthew Strohmeyer, told Breaking Defense via email. “This is the first time the DoD has conducted an event of this high level of authority, and at this scale.”

Why does this matter? Because the US military HQs aren’t nearly as high-tech as people think they are, and that’s a problem the Pentagon is eager to solve.

Pop culture imagines military command posts as high-tech temples, full of glowing screens that give the generals a real-time god’s-eye view, like in the 1980s smash hit Wargames. Reality is more prosaic, more like The Office if they sometimes bombed a hospital by mistake. In many cases, staff officers must retype reams of numbers into spreadsheets or scrawl them on sticky notes, because different networks can’t share data directly. A lot of potentially useful information is ignored for sheer lack of time to look at it.

CIA chief warns against underestimating Xi's ambitions toward Taiwan

Michael Martina and David Brunnstrom

CIA Director William Burns gestures as he speaks during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats in Washington, D.C., U.S., April 15, 2021. 

WASHINGTON, Feb 2 (Reuters) - U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns said on Thursday that Chinese President Xi Jinping's ambitions toward Taiwan should not be underestimated, despite him likely being sobered by the performance of Russia's military in Ukraine.

Burns said that the United States knew "as a matter of intelligence" that Xi had ordered his military to be ready to conduct an invasion of self-governed Taiwan by 2027.

"Now, that does not mean that he's decided to conduct an invasion in 2027, or any other year, but it's a reminder of the seriousness of his focus and his ambition," Burns told an event at Georgetown University in Washington.

"Our assessment at CIA is that I wouldn't underestimate President Xi's ambitions with regard to Taiwan," he said, adding that the Chinese leader was likely "surprised and unsettled" and trying to draw lessons by the "very poor performance" of the Russian military and its weapons systems in Ukraine.

Russia and China signed a "no limits" partnership last February shortly before Russian forces invaded Ukraine, and their economic links have boomed as Russia's connections with the West have shriveled.

The Russian invasion had fueled concerns in the West of China possibly making a similar move on Taiwan, a democratic island Beijing says is its territory.

The Free Press - A National Security Issue?

Stew Magnuson

Despite decades in the journalism profession, it wasn’t until recently that I began to see what I do for a living as a potential national security issue: that a strong and vibrant free press in the United States strengthens the nation’s security, but a weak free press could be a vulnerability.

Yes, I wrote about national security, defense and related topics. But it was just that: the subject matter I wrote about.

A change in the way I see my profession began in September aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth, the U.K. aircraft carrier parked in New York Harbor to host the Atlantic Future Forum.

It was there that former Google CEO Eric Schmidt spoke during a panel about the importance of fighting foreign disinformation campaigns with the truth. Schmidt also served on the Defense Innovation Board and continues to advise the Defense Department. I will reprint his comments verbatim.

“I think one of the things we unfortunately need to recognize is a new vulnerability that exists. … I believe the best antidote to disinformation is access to better information.

“Traditional journalism has rightly been called the Fourth Estate since that phrase was coined in London centuries ago. But traditional journalism, you know, frankly, has not been treated kindly by the digital age, or frankly, by the business model innovations of the tech sector.

“And one of the things we’re able to analyze is: where is Russian propaganda being consumed the most on a per capita basis? It’s in the places where newspapers have died.

“In the United States, there’s hundreds of counties that no longer have a newspaper. Those are the places that are turning to alternative sources of news, I think out of necessity, and not with knowledge, or awareness, that what they’re reading is actually being sent to them from inside Russia.

“So, to me, part of the antidote is to recognize we need traditional news to prosper. We need to think more broadly about government and other initiatives that can help that happen.”

Urban Combat Is Changing. The Ukraine War Shows How


How does urban warfare in Ukraine, where the adversaries are relatively balanced nation-states, differ from recent Fallujah- or Mosul-type battles between states and non-state armed groups?

It is useful to start with a list of urban warfare’s unique features and challenges, such as the one I produced in a 2019 study on urban warfare in strategic competition. In this study, a review of joint/allied doctrine, subject-matter expert discussions, historical case studies, and hypothetical vignettes suggested that most of the features and challenges present in historical battles are likely to be intensified in great power competition (today’s “strategic competition”). Strategic competition is also likely to bring four new features and challenges.

The Moral Legitimacy of Drone Strikes: How the Public Forms Its Judgments

Paul Lushenko

In 2002, U.S. President George W. Bush authorized the first known use of an armed and networked unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, as it is commonly called, to kill an al-Qaeda leader in Yemen.1 Bush’s inaugural use of a drone for the targeted killing of a terrorist set a dangerous precedent. Over 100 countries and many stateless actors now possess drones.2 To contend with the emergence of so-called “drone warfare,” the literature has evolved from studying drone proliferation to measuring the effectiveness of strikes to investigating the legal and normative dimensions of these operations. Though the literature has been described as a “drone-a-rama,”3 there are nevertheless still several notable gaps.

One such area that scholars have largely ignored is the moral legitimacy of strikes based on empirical evidence of the public’s perceptions.4 Indeed, as Stephen Ceccoli and John Bing have noted, we know “surprisingly little” about the public’s perceptions of what constitutes legitimate drone strikes,5 despite reoccurring claims that legitimacy is “central” to the sustainability of drone warfare.6 Larry Lewis and Diane Vavrichek argue that there has been an “inadequate consideration of legitimacy” in drone policy and scholarship.7 Mitt Regan adds that “there has been little effort to systematically study legitimacy” in terms of drones.8 This oversight is problematic because the public seems to view some strikes as more morally legitimate than others.9


Frank Hoffman

There is much to celebrate in the collective decision by Ukraine’s Western supporters to again upgrade security assistance to Kyiv with modern armor systems including the well-regarded German Leopard 2. There is little doubt the new weapons systems will eventually make a substantial impact on the battlefield. Kyiv’s tank troops are elated with the decision, their tanks are old, and parts and ammunition are becoming scarce. Hence, the call to “send in the tanks.”

That said, the delayed approval of the transfer decision has further slowed the delivery of both the tanks and their requisite training, logistics and maintenance support. These will not be operationally relevant until the summer now, giving Russia more time to dig in or devise countermeasures. The US topline tank, the M1A2 Abrams, is not going to be delivered until late 2023, at best. In hindsight, this was a decision that would have been better timed if made three months ago.

The debate that delayed that decision cost the Ukrainians the chance to take the initiative. As George Barros from the Institute for the Study of War noted in a recent interview, “The Ukrainians were signaling an intention to conduct offensive operations over the winter, but the lack of Western security assistance has degraded their ability to do that.” The extended discussions more than degraded such operations; it has deleted that opportunity this winter entirely. Now the Russians have more time to prepare their defensive fortifications or launch their own counteroffensive before the Ukrainians have been augmented. The additive tanks will not be on the ground in time for Ukraine to use them in the near term, while Russian forces are cold and tired. They remain vulnerable for now, but that window could be closing as General Valery Gerasimov scrambles to reconstitute his mauled units and create an offensive capability to satisfy Vladimir Putin’s imperial illusions.

Ukraine War Drives Rapid Growth in South Korea’s Arms Exports

Dasl Yoon

SEOUL—The Ukraine war has fueled rapid growth in South Korea’s arms exports as countries supporting Kyiv turn to Seoul to replenish their supplies.

Now South Korea is facing increasing pressure to supply weapons directly to Ukraine.

Seoul has sent gas masks, bulletproof vests and medical supplies to Ukraine, but President Yoon Suk Yeol has declined to provide lethal aid directly to Kyiv, citing a law that prohibits the country from doing so during a conflict.

During a visit to Seoul on Monday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg urged South Korea to reconsider, pointing to several other countries in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization that had changed their policies to support Ukraine. Asked about the possibility on Tuesday, South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup said he was aware of the need for the international effort and the government was paying close attention to the situation, but declined to comment further.

3 AI predictions for 2023 and beyond, according to an AI expert

Michael Schmidt

The field of artificial intelligence (AI) has seen huge growth in recent years.

Companies seeking to harness AI must overcome key societal concerns.

Key predictions outline how to achieve value from responsible AI growth.

If there’s one thing we know for certain when looking at the year ahead, it’s that the organizations that are prepared to take on uncertainty – from market conditions to geopolitical unrest and everything in between – will be the ones best suited to serve their customers, employees, and shareholders.

The artificial intelligence (AI) field has seen incredible growth in the last five years because it has provided new capabilities to mitigate uncertainty by leveraging data to rapidly respond to changing environments as quickly as new data comes in.

The technology and its benefits are no longer a great unknown to the majority, instead, many have seen first hand the ability AI has to work quickly and efficiently in solving many of society’s most pressing challenges. We’ve seen it play a role in the record speed at which COVID-19 vaccines were delivered, help hospitals identify and treat their most at-risk patients, and more broadly, vastly reduce the number of human errors in data.

As we look to the year ahead, we think the ramifications of heightened societal awareness of AI, increased regulatory pressure, the increased momentum of investments in the space, and how AI will continue to increase employee productivity may come to a head. Practical and applied AI concerns will become paramount to enable continued value from AI growth.

1. Heightened awareness and ethical concerns

A computer scientist explains why AI has its limits

Jie Wang

Powered by artificial intelligence technologies, computers today can do many things, but they still have their limits, says a computer scientist.

Quantum computing is set to take computation beyond the algorithms of a Turing machine.

If it succeeds, it will change the landscape of cybersecurity, says the professor.

Empowered by artificial intelligence technologies, computers today can engage in convincing conversations with people, compose songs, paint paintings, play chess and go, and diagnose diseases, to name just a few examples of their technological prowess.

These successes could be taken to indicate that computation has no limits. To see if that’s the case, it’s important to understand what makes a computer powerful.

There are two aspects to a computer’s power: the number of operations its hardware can execute per second and the efficiency of the algorithms it runs. The hardware speed is limited by the laws of physics. Algorithms – basically sets of instructions – are written by humans and translated into a sequence of operations that computer hardware can execute. Even if a computer’s speed could reach the physical limit, computational hurdles remain due to the limits of algorithms.

These hurdles include problems that are impossible for computers to solve and problems that are theoretically solvable but in practice are beyond the capabilities of even the most powerful versions of today’s computers imaginable. Mathematicians and computer scientists attempt to determine whether a problem is solvable by trying them out on an imaginary machine.

An imaginary computing machine

AI in migration is fuelling global inequality: How can we bridge the gap?

Marie McAuliffe

Increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI) in migration, with growing mobility inequality, sets to exacerbate the digital divide between and within states regarding migration and mobility systems.

Many advanced economies were early adopters of AI in migration and mobility systems, but they already had the information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure to build on basic data capture.

Many countries, especially least-developed countries, lack critical ICT infrastructure for AI in migration, while potential migrants experience obstacles when engaging with digital channels within the same processes.

Artificial intelligence (AI) in migration and mobility systems has recently become a hot topic in research and policy circles, given the heightened prominence of the technology.

But as AI deployment rapidly advances through different policy domains, you might be surprised to learn that AI in migration has been present for several decades. This fact, together with major, long-term trends in international migration, points to the risk that AI technologies in migration and mobility systems are on track to exacerbate digital divides both between and within states.

AI early adopters

AI usage for migration and mobility management was, for some countries, a logical consideration in the 1990s, given the significant, sustained increases in international air travel, the deployment of online visa application systems and growing international border crossing data capture. The use of AI centred on managing increasing volumes efficiently and enabling enhanced data capture for strategic analytics.

But of course, those countries had existing advanced data systems and the resources needed to build on existing administrative data collection toward more elaborate AI-supported systems.

ChatGPT will force school exams out of the dark ages

Too much of our testing regime still remains fixated on being able to regurgitate information CAMILLA CAVENDISHAdd to myFT © Jonathan McHugh ChatGPT will force school exams out of the dark ages on twitter (opens in a new window) ChatGPT will force school exams out of the dark ages on facebook (opens in a new window) ChatGPT will force school exams out of the dark ages on linkedin (opens in a new window) Save current progress 0% Camilla Cavendish JANUARY 20 2023 218 Print this page Receive free Education updates We’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest Education news every morning. “Goodbye, homework,” tweeted Elon Musk after the launch of ChatGPT, a bot that writes plausible answers and even rhyming poetry. This kind of generative artificial intelligence sparks fear, loathing and awe in equal measure. But it is the world of education which is most spooked. Since OpenAI launched the ChatGPT language-generation model before Christmas, New York’s public schools have banned pupils from using it. In Australia, universities are planning a return to supervised pen and paper examinations to evade the chatbot fakes. Teachers are rightly concerned that they won’t be able to help pupils who are falling behind if they can’t spot faked assignments. 

But one reason these bots pose such a threat is that so much of our education remains fixated on being able to elegantly regurgitate information. In the past 20 years, search engines have revolutionised our access to knowledge. Neuroscience has transformed our understanding of how different people learn. But the way we teach and test has barely changed. My own kids sit national exams which feel horribly similar to those I took at school. They still require vast feats of memorisation but come with the new horror of “mark schemes” which must also be learnt to score points by parroting the correct “keywords”. To sit biology A-level, or history GCSE, is to see a fascinating subject reduced to a largely deadening plod through names, dates and formulas. Teachers don’t call this system “drill and kill” for nothing. Biology and history are subjects that parents of dyslexic children steer their offspring away from, fearing they will struggle to recall the sheer volume of facts irrespective of how well they grasp the concepts. 

AI Chatbots Are Getting Better. But an Interview With ChatGPT Reveals Their Limits


In 1950, the English computer scientist Alan Turing devised a test he called the imitation game: could a computer program ever convince a human interlocutor that he was talking to another human, rather than to a machine?

The Turing test, as it became known, is often thought of as a test of whether a computer could ever really “think.” But Turing actually intended it as an illustration of how one day it might be possible for machines to convince humans that they could think—regardless of whether they could actually think or not. Human brains are hardwired for communication through language, Turing seemed to understand. Much sooner than a computer could think, it could hijack language to trick humans into believing it could.

Seven decades later, in 2022, even the most cutting edge artificial intelligence (AI) systems cannot think in any way comparable to a human brain. But they can easily pass the Turing test. This summer, Google fired one of its engineers who had become convinced that one of its chatbots had reached sentience. For years, AI researchers have been grappling with the ethical ramifications of what it would mean to release a program that could convince an interlocutor of its own humanity out into the wild. Such a machine could lead people to believe false information. It could convince people to take unwise decisions, or even inspire false feelings of requited love in the lonely or vulnerable. To release such a program would surely be deeply unethical. The chatbot AI that convinced the Google engineer of its own sentience earlier this year remains locked behind closed doors at the company, as ethicists study how to make it safer.

But on Nov. 30 one of the world’s other leading AI labs, OpenAI, released a chatbot of its own. The program, called ChatGPT, is more advanced than any other chatbot available for public interaction, and many observers say it represents a step change in the industry. “Talking” to it can feel bewitching. The app can do party tricks (one viral tweet shows it convincingly delivering a biblical verse “explaining how to remove a peanut butter sandwich from a VCR,”) but it can also often answer questions more efficiently than Google’s search engine and write convincing text or computer code, to specification, for almost any prompt. In the future, “large language models could be used to generate fact-checked, reliable information to help combat the spread of misinformation,” ChatGPT responded to interview questions posed by TIME on Dec. 2. The full and unedited conversation is reproduced below.

Stop Passing the Buck on Cybersecurity

Jen Easterly and Eric Goldstein

Despite a global multibillion-dollar cybersecurity industry, the threat from malicious cyber-activity, from both criminal and state actors, continues to grow. While many cyber incidents are never reported by their victims, Verizon’s 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report noted that ransomware attacks rose 13 percent that year—more than the past five years combined. These breaches included attacks that threatened public health and safety, with several hospitals across the United States forced to cancel surgeries and divert patients because they were locked out of their systems.

Over the past decade, adversaries of the United States have developed increasingly sophisticated offensive cyber-capabilities. As cybersecurity expert Dmitri Alperovitch has argued, “We don’t have a cyber problem. We have a Russia, China, Iran, North Korea problem.” Although the focus on malicious actors—whether nation-states or criminals—is important, cyber-intrusions are a symptom, rather than a cause, of the continued vulnerability of U.S. technology.

What the United States faces is less a cyber problem than a broader technology and culture problem. The incentives for developing and selling technology have eclipsed customer safety in importance—a trend that is not unique to software and hardware industries but one that has particularly pernicious effects because of the ubiquity of these technologies. As Americans have integrated technology into nearly every facet of their lives, they have unwittingly come to accept that it is normal for new software and devices to be indefensible by design. They accept products that are released to market with dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of defects. They accept that the cybersecurity burden falls disproportionately on consumers and small organizations, which are often least aware of the threat and least capable of protecting themselves.

Widespread use of unsafe technologies is compounded by a common practice in many organizations and companies of relegating cybersecurity to the “IT people” or to a chief information security officer. They are given this responsibility, but not the resources, influence, or accountability to ensure that security is appropriately prioritized against cost, performance, speed to market, and new features. When cybersecurity is considered a niche issue, rather than a foundational business risk, organizations are not motivated to be part of a broader solution. As a result, victims of cyber-intrusions too rarely share information about malicious activity with the government or with other firms, allowing adversaries to reuse the same techniques to compromise countless victims.

Fact-Checkers Are Scrambling to Fight Disinformation With AI

SPAIN’S REGIONAL ELECTIONS are still nearly four months away, but Irene Larraz and her team at Newtral are already braced for impact. Each morning, half of Larraz’s team at the Madrid-based media company sets a schedule of political speeches and debates, preparing to fact-check politicians’ statements. The other half, which debunks disinformation, scans the web for viral falsehoods and works to infiltrate groups spreading lies. Once the May elections are out of the way, a national election has to be called before the end of the year, which will likely prompt a rush of online falsehoods. “It’s going to be quite hard,” Larraz says. “We are already getting prepared.”

The proliferation of online misinformation and propaganda has meant an uphill battle for fact-checkers worldwide, who have to sift through and verify vast quantities of information during complex or fast-moving situations, such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Covid-19 pandemic, or election campaigns. That task has become even harder with the advent of chatbots using large language models, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which can produce natural-sounding text at the click of a button, essentially automating the production of misinformation.

Faced with this asymmetry, fact-checking organizations are having to build their own AI-driven tools to help automate and accelerate their work. It’s far from a complete solution, but fact-checkers hope these new tools will at least keep the gap between them and their adversaries from widening too fast, at a moment when social media companies are scaling back their own moderation operations.

“The race between fact-checkers and those they are checking on is an unequal one,” says Tim Gordon, cofounder of Best Practice AI, an artificial intelligence strategy and governance advisory firm, and a trustee of a UK fact-checking charity.

“Fact-checkers are often tiny organizations compared to those producing disinformation,” Gordon says. “And the scale of what generative AI can produce, and the pace at which it can do so, means that this race is only going to get harder.”

What is an OSINT Tool – Best OSINT Tools 2023


Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) tools are an invaluable resource for companies, organizations cybersecurity researchers and students. In this article, we will explore the 15 best OSINT tools that you can use for your investigations and education purposes.

OSINT, or Open Source Intelligence, refers to the practice of gathering information from publicly available sources. In the information and digital age, there are countless tools and resources available for OSINT practitioners to use, making it easier than ever to collect and analyze information. Here are the 15 best OSINT tools that you can use for your investigations:

Maltego is a powerful and sophisticated OSINT tool for gathering data from public sources. Developed by Paterva, Maltego OSINT allows users to quickly uncover relationships between large amounts of disparate data which can then be used to build intelligence profiles.

With Maltego OSINT, users are able to extract information from multiple online sources using simple graphic representations. This includes the ability to map out social networks, capture contact details and business data, track domain names and IP addresses, uncover digital evidence such as documents or images stored on websites, find related news articles and more.

Urban Combat Is Changing. The Ukraine War Shows How


How does urban warfare in Ukraine, where the adversaries are relatively balanced nation-states, differ from recent Fallujah- or Mosul-type battles between states and non-state armed groups?

It is useful to start with a list of urban warfare’s unique features and challenges, such as the one I produced in a 2019 study on urban warfare in strategic competition. In this study, a review of joint/allied doctrine, subject-matter expert discussions, historical case studies, and hypothetical vignettes suggested that most of the features and challenges present in historical battles are likely to be intensified in great power competition (today’s “strategic competition”). Strategic competition is also likely to bring four new features and challenges.