14 February 2023

Vietnam And India Are Now Acting To Contain Aggressive China – Analysis

Ved Shinde

A silent change is taking place in Asia. Beijing’s unbridled territorial ambitions are compelling regional players to look for trustworthy partners. India, Japan, Vietnam and Australia seek to balance Chinese aggression through local partnerships. Deepening bilateral and multilateral ties is a natural response to the challenge that pervades the region: the rise of a belligerent China.

Both India and Vietnam face a security dilemma because of China’s regional power ambitions. They fear Asian domination by a single power. Being China’s neighbors, India and Vietnam are rightly insecure about their borders. China has invaded both countries in the past: India in 1962 and Vietnam in 1979.

To raise the cost of another Chinese military aggression, India and Vietnam are joining hands to counter Beijing. New Delhi and Hanoi completed 50 years of diplomatic engagement last year. It is the last five years that have been the most consequential in their diplomatic history though. During this period, the countries have been intensifying cooperation and are in a position to act in concert on many fronts.

Pakistani Taliban: The Most Powerful Anti-State Actor in the Country

Lawrence A. Franklin

Commander Noor Wali Mehsud, the head of Pakistan's most formidable terrorist network, Tehreek-e-Taliban, also known as the Pakistani Taliban, recently threatened to assassinate Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the leaders of Pakistan's coalition government.

When the Taliban ended its ceasefire, substantive details of the talks were leaked to the Pakistani media, revealed the startling concessions that the government appeared about to make to the Taliban.

It appears that the government was prepared to grant many of the Taliban's demands: to release hundreds of terrorist prisoners, withdraw tens of thousands of soldiers from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, and to institute shari'a law in the province's Malakand region.

US National Security Advisor Ned Price laughably urged Afghan Taliban leaders to live up to their pledge not to permit Afghanistan's territory to be used as a launching pad to threaten other countries. Good luck with that.

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.

The Digital Silk Road

Christopher D. Booth

China’s “Digital Silk Road” is an amorphous program spanning, among other things, surveillance technology, telecommunications, sea-based sub-surface data cables and landing stations, the BeiDou satellite navigation system, and, of course, China’s internet guarded by the so-called “Great Firewall.” The Digital Silk Road was first described in 2015 as part of Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative. In The Digital Silk Road: China’s Quest to Wire the World and Win the Future, Jonathan Hillman describes what he found after exploring various aspects of the project by, among other things, attending academic conferences, taking online sales training programs, and even visiting Huawei switches installed in a rural Montana network provider. In the late 1990s, former Chinese General Secretary Jiang Zemin directed that the primary purpose of the tech industry in the People’s Republic was to support the Chinese military. Hillman illustrates how at this time Western political and business leaders speciously believed that opening global markets to the People’s Republic of China, admitting it to the World Trade Organization, and exporting technology to China, would liberalize the communist state. His book repeatedly demonstrates how these policies (in combination with Chinese intellectual property theft, cyber-attacks, and reverse engineering), in the words of former Director of the National Security Agency, General Keith Alexander, led to the “single greatest transfer of wealth in history.”[1] While many are now aware of the problem, the book documents how disjointed and scattershot any response to the threat has been.

China Accuses United States of ‘Information Warfare’

Emily Tamkin

Beijing Rejects Washington’s Balloon Claims

China’s government claims that the United States is engaging in “information warfare” against Beijing by describing the Chinese balloon downed over the Atlantic Ocean as part of China’s surveillance program.

The Chinese foreign ministry has insisted that the balloon was a civilian airship that flew off course and that the United States, in shooting it down, overreacted.

U.S. officials have dismissed China’s accusations and refuted Beijing’s claims that the balloon was flying for civilian purposes. “I can assure this was not for civilian purposes. We are 100 percent clear on that,” Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said.

The United States has said China’s balloon-spying program is intended to target not only the United States but also more than 40 countries across various continents. U.S. officials are also reportedly exploring potential punitive actions against China as well as “broader efforts” to address China’s surveillance activities.

5 things we learned about Chinese spy balloons this week

Lili Pike

One week ago, the nation was transfixed by a Chinese balloon flying over the U.S., and the Pentagon seemed to be downplaying the risks. One week later, U.S. officials have gone to great lengths to publicize the risks and describe what they say is a worldwide problem of such incursions by China. And on Friday, the U.S. went so far as to shoot down another flying object — this one the size of a car, according to the Pentagon — that was hovering over Alaska.

A lot has happened in one week.

The tables have turned in the Chinese balloon saga — the observer is now being observed. Since the balloon was shot down off the South Carolina coast on Saturday, Navy divers have already salvaged some of the remnants in the Atlantic. Those remnants, along with U.S. observation of the balloon while it was still in flight, have helped shed light on its mission.

At the same time, U.S. officials have been releasing information about the capabilities of surveillance balloons generally and the Chinese military’s use of them. These releases are in part a refutation of China’s narrative that it was merely a civilian airship, and they paint a very different picture from the one put forward last week. At the Pentagon’s first press conference about the balloon, a senior Defense official said, “Currently we assess that this balloon has limited additive value from an intelligence collection perspective.”

The FBI’s Most Controversial Surveillance Tool Is Under Threat

AN EXISTENTIAL FIGHT over the US government’s ability to spy on its own citizens is brewing in Congress. And as this fight unfolds, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s biggest foes on Capitol Hill are no longer reformers merely interested in reining in its authority. Many lawmakers, elevated to new heights of power by the recent election, are working to dramatically curtail the methods by which the FBI investigates crime.

New details about the FBI’s failures to comply with restrictions on the use of foreign intelligence for domestic crimes have emerged at a perilous time for the US intelligence community. Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the so-called crown jewel of US intelligence, grants the government the ability to intercept the electronic communications of overseas targets who are unprotected by the Fourth Amendment.

That authority is set to expire at the end of the year. But errors in the FBI’s secondary use of the data—the investigation of crimes on US soil—are likely to inflame an already fierce debate over whether law enforcement agents can be trusted with such an invasive tool.

Why Is America Desperate to Talk to China After Balloon Intrusion?

Gordon G. Chang

There are many things wrong about Austin's attempts to communicate with Wei. As an initial matter, Wei's rank is far below Austin's.

Our defense secretary should insist, when he talks, to talk to the people in charge.

Americans are big on "dialogue." They believe as an article of faith, that there must be communication to maintain relations. In fact, communication with China has over the course of decades made matters worse.

How so? American attempts at dialogue empower the worst elements in the Chinese political system by showing everyone else that bad conduct works. The cycle is well known in Beijing: China engages in belligerent conduct and America then tries to placate the hostile regime. Desperate attempts to talk make America look like a supplicant.

Austin, if he were to call, should have done so as the craft approached U.S. airspace in late January.

The People's Liberation Army has continued to ignore communication mechanisms.

U.S. Should Create Military Cyber Force to Help Deter China, Experts Tell Congress

John Grady

The U.S. should consider creating an independent Cyber Force, similar to the Space Force, to take on the asymmetric and technological challenges China has created to disrupt the American approach to war, the former executive director of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission testified Thursday.

The top officers of the 12-year-old U.S. Cyber Command “laid out some good metrics” to measure readiness, “but the services aren’t meeting them” in terms of training and equipping, retired Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, now with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said in his opening remarks before the newly-created House Armed Services committee on cyber, innovative technology and information systems.

“Readiness is relatively the same as it was” six years ago, he said. Montgomery used that date to mark China’s standing up its cyber support force.

“U.S. cyber forces are inconsistent in organization, readiness, and training across the military services, Montgomery wrote in his prepared remarks. “Additionally, the size of each service contribution to the cyber mission forces has not changed appreciably since the original agreements in 2012, despite significant changes in the cyber threat.”

Biden’s Foreign Policy Is a Mess

Kori Schake

Many foreign policy analysts breathed a sigh of relief when Joe Biden replaced Donald Trump in the White House two years ago. With Biden’s hands on the wheel (and Trump’s erratic and at times reckless tenure in the rearview), the United States could return to being a stabilizing force in the world. The president himself embraced that perception. “America is back,” he pledged to allies in February 2021. After the tumult of the Trump years, an administration with a serious foreign policy agenda once again called the shots in Washington.

Yet the first two years of the Biden presidency have not vindicated this optimism or promise. Instead, confusion abounds, with a troubling disconnect between the administration’s stated priorities and its conduct. Biden’s desire to protect U.S. workers and boost U.S.-based industries has found itself at odds with the imperative of building an alliance to contain the threat of China.

The central deficiency of Biden’s national security strategy is the absence of an economic vision that will allow the United States and other countries to reduce their dependence on Chinese products and markets. With Washington unable to get allies on board on the economic front, other elements of U.S. strategy end up carrying more weight, notably the armed forces. But there, too, the administration’s recognition of the urgent military threat posed by China has not produced a sufficient change in actual policy, in terms of both the defense budget and how policymakers deploy U.S. forces. The State Department is not strong enough to make up for these deficiencies and often finds itself sidelined. Unbalanced, the administration’s strategy lacks credibility. Unless the administration puts into practice the strategy it extolls—by disciplining the president’s loose comments about Taiwan, giving friendly countries incentives to enact difficult economic transitions, enforcing export controls, significantly increasing defense spending, and boosting the capacity of the armed forces—its foreign policy will continue to be ineffective.

‘Reimagining how we fight’: SASC chairman details 4 priorities for coming year


WASHINGTON — As a divided Congress is gearing up for budget season, the Senate Armed Services Committee plans to focus on four imperatives: examining how the military will fight on future battlefields, exploring new weapon programs, looking for ways to shore up the industrial base and taking better care of troops.

While SASC Chairman Sen. Jack Reed told reporters “sustaining the warfighter” tops that list, the other three areas revolve around weapon procurement and supporting technology lines, and ensuring that the Pentagon is best aligned to use those capabilities.

“First, is reimagining how we fight,” Reed said at a Defense Writers Group event. “We are in a tremendously dynamic situation where technologies are changing rapidly, techniques are changing rapidly [and so are] operational issues.”

“All that has to be reimagined and integrated, and experience in Ukraine is giving us insights for this transformation,” he later added.

Next on Reed’s list is ensuring that the services are buying equipment that is “capable of operating effectively”.

Russian Generals Killed in War 'Unbelievably High': Japanese Intelligence


Vladimir Putin has lost more of his top commanders in the war in Ukraine than previously reported, according to Japanese and Western intelligence.

The estimate of Russian generals killed increased to 10 this week after former retired Major General Dmitry Ulyanov, 44, reportedly died in a firefight in the Donbas region. A top paratrooper and commander of the elite 98th Guards Airborne Division, Ulyanov's death was the first among Russian generals reported for several months.

Ukrainian sources claimed in July that 14 Russian generals had been killed although some claims have been rebutted. While there have not been reports of Putin losing generals for several months, the scale of losses of such high-ranking officers is rare.

However, Japan estimates that 20 of Putin's generals have been killed in the war, based on intelligence gathered by Tokyo in cooperation with the United States and Europe.

Stealing Russia


STOCKHOLM – Wars and sanctions usually lead to major redistributions of property through nationalization, confiscation, and often criminalization. Russia today is no exception. Largely underreported, a radical redistribution of property is underway in the country. Just as the Kremlin’s war of aggression in Ukraine is increasing President Vladimir Putin’s control of society, it is severely damaging economic efficiency, with international sanctions hitting energy, banking, armaments, and other core industries with increasing force.

Before Russia invaded Ukraine last February, it boasted cumulative foreign direct investment of about $500 billion. But most of this was from Western companies that have since declared their intention to leave the country. According to Yale University’s Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld, more than 1,000 firms have announced that they are cutting back operations in Russia beyond what is required by sanctions. Assets worth hundreds of billions of dollars are up for grabs, and though the changes of ownership will be gradual and non-transparent, the nature of the transformation is clear.

The biggest share of foreign ownership was in the hydrocarbons sector. Most of the industry’s major multinational players had a presence in the country through partnerships with state-owned companies like Rosneft and Gazprom. For example, BP owns a 19.75% share of Rosneft previously valued at $14 billion, and it remains unclear how it will unload this stake. Presumably, Rosneft will eventually acquire the shares for kopecks on the ruble.

Ukraine and a Multi-Speed Europe within NATO

Alexander Brotman

As European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen led a summit with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy again in Kyiv this past week, new urgency in the rhetoric regarding Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations started to emerge. Building on the neo-idealism of Central and Eastern European (CEE) states that scholar Benjamin Tallis has written so eloquently about, the new Czech President Petr Pavel was quick to express his firm conviction that Ukraine belongs in NATO and that there is no alternative. In addition, Pavel’s call to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in which he insisted that ‘China is not compatible with Western democracies’ also spoke to the pragmatic approach of the CEE states and of the confidence that their newfound position in Europe has afforded them. This contrasts markedly with Germany, in which a major stake in the port of Hamburg is due to be sold to a Chinese conglomerate, and the sale of Frankfurt Hahn airport to a Russian investor has also been approved. Thus, the power of small states to determine Europe’s values idealistically yet pragmatically is a major source of divergence between the EU’s older and more traditional power brokers and the EU’s formerly peripheral states.

Danilov: Russia may launch massive cyberattack ahead of renewed offensive

Oleksiy Danilov

National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov warned that Russia might launch a massive cyberattack as a part of its renewed major offensive in Ukraine.

“A precursor and component of a new wave of large-scale aggression by Russia, like a year ago, may be offensive in cyberspace, and we must be ready to fight back,” Danilov said.

According to Danilov, Ukraine has strengthened and developed the national cyber security system and significantly increased the level of technical equipment of the Ukrainian army. He emphasized that Ukraine is a side of the global cyber war being waged by Russia and must mobilize its resources to defend against the enemy.

The NSDC reported that the number of Russian cyberattacks on Ukraine has almost tripled compared to 2021, targeting logistics, military facilities, government databases, and information resources. Currently, Russia is also carrying out systematic cyberattacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure and recording numerous attempts of hostile cyberattacks, including spam mailings and personal data collection.

Japan’s strategic imperative

Joseph S. Nye

In December, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced the most ambitious expansion of military power in Japan since the creation of the country’s self-defence forces in 1954. Japanese defence spending will rise to 2% of GDP—twice the 1% level that has prevailed since 1976—and a new national security strategy lays out all the diplomatic, economic, technological and military instruments that Japan will use to protect itself in the years ahead.

Most notably, Japan will acquire the kind of long-range missiles that it had previously foresworn, and it will work with the United States to strengthen littoral defences around the ‘first island chain’ in the western Pacific. Last month in Washington, following Kishida’s diplomatic tour through several other G7 countries, he and US President Joe Biden pledged closer defence cooperation. Among the factors precipitating these changes are China’s increased assertiveness against Taiwan and, especially, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which reminded a new generation what military aggression looks like.

Of course, some of Japan’s neighbours worry that it will resume its militarist posture of the 1930s. When Kishida’s predecessor, Shinzo Abe, broadened the constitutional interpretation of self-defence to include collective undertakings with Japanese allies, he stoked concerns both within the region and from some segments of Japanese society.

Ukraine Braces for Grisly Russian Offensive in the East

Amy Mackinnon and Jack Detsch

Amid a recent surge in fighting, many military analysts believe the long-awaited Russian offensive is already underway and is expected to accelerate as the first anniversary of the invasion approaches.

“Something is brewing in the east,” said Jonatan Vseviov, secretary-general of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “More and more Russian soldiers are arriving on the front,” he said.

Ukrainian officials estimate that Russian forces inside the country have surpassed the 300,000 mark following a recent mobilization effort that began in September of last year. Military analysts believe the figure may be slightly lower, but even more conservative estimates of Russia’s presence in Ukraine are significantly higher than the invading force that Russian President Vladimir Putin used to invade the country last February—and this time, they are highly concentrated in eastern Ukraine.

“We expect in the next 10 days a new, huge invasion,” a Ukrainian military official, speaking on condition of anonymity to talk about intelligence matters, told Foreign Policy. Over the weekend, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said that he expects a surge in Russian operations around the upcoming anniversary of the invasion on Feb. 24.

Russia’s Second, Silent War Against Its Human Capital

Andrei Kolesnikov

At the end of last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the government to draw up a package of measures by 2023 that will increase birth rates and life expectancy in Russia. He also expressed bewilderment at the falling birth rates in a number of regions. Yet just a few days later, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu proposed changing the age at which Russian men are conscripted for mandatory military service from eighteen to twenty-one and increasing the upper age limit for conscription from twenty-seven to thirty. That would mean young men being called up after earning their college degrees, and trained specialists being pulled out of the job market to have their skills voided by military service.

There is a major discrepancy between these two objectives. If men go to war or emigrate en masse instead of fathering children, where will the children come from? The effect on the labor market will also be severe: conscription at such a productive age leeches the labor force out of an economy that is already expected to lose 3–4 million people aged twenty to forty by 2030 (compared to 2020) for objective demographic reasons.

The working population is also losing those who have already left or will leave the country in response to the intense militarization of life, not to mention those who are mobilized, killed, or maimed in combat if the so-called “special operation” continues.

Jamestown Foundation

Bleak New World: American Society In China’s Official Narrative
China’s New Historic “Leap” Narrative: Coverup for the Zero-COVID Policy Failure?
In Kazakhstan, Generation Z on Alert Over China
Xi’s Anti-Corruption Campaign: Yunnan Province in Focus
China’s Interests in North Korean Denuclearization: Reducing the Northeast Asian Security Dilemma

The Chatbot Search Wars Have Begun

THIS WEEK THE world's largest search companies leaped into a contest to harness a powerful new breed of "generative AI" algorithms.

Most notably Microsoft announced that it is rewiring Bing, which lags some way behind Google in terms of popularity, to use ChatGPT—the insanely popular and often surprisingly capable chatbot made by the AI startup OpenAI.

In case you’ve been living in outer space for the past few months, you'll know that people are losing their minds over ChatGPT’s ability to answer questions in strikingly coherent and seemingly insightful and creative ways. Want to understand quantum computing? Need a recipe for whatever’s in the fridge? Can’t be bothered to write that high school essay

ChatGPT has your back.

The all-new Bing is similarly chatty. Demos that the company gave at its headquarters in Redmond, and a quick test drive by WIRED’s Aarian Marshall, who attended the event, show that it can effortlessly generate a vacation itinerary, summarize the key points of product reviews, and answer tricky questions, like whether an item of furniture will fit in a particular car. It’s a long way from Microsoft’s hapless and hopeless Office assistant Clippy, which some readers may recall bothering them every time they created a new document.

What’s Wrong with ChatGPT?


CAMBRIDGE – Microsoft is reportedly delighted with OpenAI’s ChatGPT, a natural-language artificial-intelligence program capable of generating text that reads as if a human wrote it. Taking advantage of easy access to finance over the past decade, companies and venture-capital funds invested billions in an AI arms race, resulting in a technology that can now be used to replace humans across a wider range of tasks. This could be a disaster not only for workers, but also for consumers and even investors.

The problem for workers is obvious: there will be fewer jobs requiring strong communication skills, and thus fewer positions that pay well. Cleaners, drivers, and some other manual workers will keep their jobs, but everyone else should be afraid. Consider customer service. Instead of hiring people to interact with customers, companies will increasingly rely on generative AIs like ChatGPT to placate angry callers with clever and soothing words. Fewer entry-level jobs will mean fewer opportunities to start a career – continuing a trend established by earlier digital technologies.

How Cyberattacks Are Reshaping Modern Warfare

NEW YORK, February 10, 2023 (Newswire.com) - iQuanti: Cyberattacks are quickly becoming the newest weapon of modern warfare.

As technology advances, so does the threat of cyber warfare, leaving many countries vulnerable to attacks that can damage their infrastructures and economies—not to mention the human cost.

From espionage to sabotage, there are many ways in which people who understand cybersecurity can implement cyberattacks, like ransomware attacks, in warfare. Because of this, it can be difficult for militaries to protect themselves and respond accordingly.

Let's explore how these cyberattacks are reshaping modern warfare and why it's crucial for governments to prepare:

What Are Cyberattacks?

A cyberattack is any malicious attack on a computer system or network designed to disrupt operations.

To prepare for digital warfare, the military must run more digital exercises


A Tactical Air Control Party specialist ensures safety on the range while guiding air support with simulated data received from an Army ground commander during Exercise Scarlet Dragon on Fort Bragg, N.C., February 1, 2023. (US Army photo by Spc. Osvaldo Fuentes)

Pentagon leaders have been clear that they view the digital battlefield as the battlefield of the future. And yet, much of the exercising the military does is still focused on traditional capabilities. In this new op-ed, Schuyler Moore, the chief technology officer for US Central Command, argues it’s time for the military to more regularly integrate digital tools as it trains for the next conflict.

Last month, the “Dragon Joint Operations Center” (DJOC) at Fort Bragg was packed with more than 400 people and humming with energy. Military operators, policy makers, technical experts, and industry representatives all milled around a wall of screens displaying an array of maps, live feeds, and software tools. CENTCOM and XVIII Airborne Corps had gathered the group for a large-scale exercise called “Scarlet Dragon Oasis,” which included multiple organizations from across the Department of Defense, with dozens of assets dropping live munitions.

But the traditional assets and munitions were a sideshow to the real capability being showcased and stress-tested: the software tools and algorithms on the screens that are increasingly shaping the future of warfare.

The Ukraine war is fuelling and obscuring cyberattacks


Cyberattacks have largely fallen out of the headlines in the year since the war in Ukraine started, but the dangerous crossover between the two threats is increasingly apparent in the scale of disruption around the world.

The former Dubai-based teacher Mark Steed found himself on the front line of these battles a little more than two years ago, and has since spoken out on the pitfalls facing an institution that finds its data locked away. At his Hong Kong international school, he decided not to devote scarce resources to paying the ransomware demands, even if that complicated the recovery operation facing his team.

“The attack encrypted our local servers, preventing access to all of our admin systems that we hosted on-site, including our finance and HR records,” he wrote in last week’s Times Educational Supplement. “Given that the school was operational and there had been no data loss, we decided not to respond to the hackers’ demands that we pay them for the ability to unencrypt our files, nor did we report the incident to the police.”

As cyberspace becomes more and more confrontational, it is not just headmasters at schools who are trying to work out appropriate responses. The war in Ukraine has seen a speeding up of the aggression against internet users there while also hogging the attention that might otherwise be devoted to these trends.

Hybrid Intelligence As A Response to Hybrid Warfare?

Jeff Giesea

The last two decades have seen many changes in the security environment. New technologies have given rise to asymmetric opportunities. The costs of all-out war have pushed conflict into the grey zone. The lines separating state and non-state actors have blurred. So-called hybrid warfare has combined conventional warfare, unconventional warfare, and even business activities to achieve meaningful geopolitical effects.

In a sense, it has never been easier to be a bad guy seeking low-cost, high-impact methods to shape the world. Perhaps no group better illustrates these changing realities than the Russian paramilitary corporation, the Wagner Group.

While all of this may seem like bad news, there is a flip side to these trends: Just as new technologies have reduced the cost and increased the impact of warfare, they have created new possibilities for cheaper, better intelligence collection and verification.

But have we taken advantage of these possibilities? Have intelligence professionals evolved their methods as quickly as political technologists and warfare entrepreneurs have? What is the intelligence equivalent of hybrid warfare anyways?

Ukraine Has Exactly One T-80UK Command Tank. It Just Fought A Dangerous Solo Battle Near Bakhmut.

David Axe

The Ukrainian army has captured exactly one Russian T-80UK command tank that independent analysts have been able to confirm.

That sole tank, perhaps the rarest in Russia’s wider war on Ukraine, just made a dramatic reappearance.

Speeding along the E40 highway just north of Bakhmut on or around Tuesday, the tank’s three-man crew intercepted a Russian infantry force trying to make a daytime end-run around the Ukrainian garrison in Bakhmut.

But the T-80UK’s impressive-seeming mission isn’t actually good news for Ukraine. A tank shouldn’t be operating all alone on a battlefield teeming with drones, attack helicopters and precision artillery.

The T-80UK is a 43-ton, turbine-powered T-80U with a suite of enhancements including extra radios, a better navigation system and a new thermal sight.

Preparing for Strategic Competition: The Need for Irregular Warfare Professional Military Education

Charles T. Cleveland, Daniel Egel, David Maxwell, Hy Rothstein

The Department of Defense (DOD) does not provide the irregular warfare (IW) professional military education necessary for success in competition and conflict in the 21st century. This is not a new problem, but it is one that may deserve new attention from the Congress and the Pentagon.

More than 30 years ago, the late Ambassador Michael Sheehan, who also served as the assistant secretary of defense responsible for irregular warfare, observed that IW had “lost its significance (PDF) as a separate type of conflict that requires different doctrine and training.” Sheehan concluded that a consequence was that the United States lacked the “operational level and campaign planning (PDF)” necessary for irregular warfare above the tactical level.

Congress—reflecting on the findings from the Skelton Panel in the 21stcentury—has affirmed (PDF) that “the primary purpose of [professional military education] is to develop military officers, throughout their careers, for the rigorous intellectual demands of complex contingencies and major conflicts.” It is perhaps unsurprising that the United States was unable to assemble (PDF) high-level irregular warfare–proficient campaign headquarters in either Afghanistan or Iraq—which may provide a critical vulnerability as U.S. adversaries are increasingly turning to irregular approaches to undermine U.S. conventional supremacy.

Unlocking Training Technology for Multi-Domain Operations

Timothy Marler


Multi-domain operations (MDO) can present many challenges for training. Involvement of various disparate organizations and services can exacerbate these challenges and can require balancing centralized coordination with decentralized training objectives. Furthermore, although the underlying concept of MDO is not new, the actual term was just recently introduced by the U.S. Army as a doctrinal concept. Consequently, there is a risk that the development of training technology can be reactionary, resulting in siloed efforts. Emerging training technologies can help support the unique complexities of MDO, but the development of these technologies and related systems may need to occur in concert with doctrine development, align with tracing processes, and incorporate input from end users as early as possible. If MDO is to provide new benefits, the training community may need to solve old problems. It may need to communicate more effectively.
The Multi-Domain Operations Context

Emerging technologies may assuage complex training challenges that are magnified by multi-domain operations. To leverage benefits, technology research and development (R&D) may need to occur in concert with doctrinal development. However, coordinated and efficient acquisition has been a longstanding issue for the military (Wong et al., 2022), and if MDO is to provide new benefits, the training community may need to solve old problems. It may need to communicate more effectively.

Lessons From the Cold War: How Quality Trumps Quantity in Cybersecurity

Mark Pelkoski

The terms "Military Specification" or "MIL-SPEC" may sound like government bureaucracy. This requirement, however, that every piece of equipment used by the military — down to its components, such as screws, electronics, and plastic — needs to meet certain standards was arguably why the United States was able to win the Cold War.

While the US military focused on quality, the Soviet Union focused on quantity, driven by its own doctrine that quantity was a key part of quality. The regime believed that endless numbers of tanks and planes would allow them to win any conflict; that turned out to be faulty thinking.

For the US military, quality — and the details it takes to get there — remains critical. I know this firsthand from the seven years I spent working on F-16 fighter jets during my service in the US Air Force. Everything that was installed in that plane had to have a MIL-SPEC rating, or it wasn't good enough. MIL-SPEC means that the material or component that was used to build a circuit board, for example, had to be tested in a way that pushed the component to the point of failure, which was far beyond the operational requirement for what it was designed for. This includes but isn't limited to exposure to freezing, thawing, heating, vibrating, dropping, pressurizing, depressurizing, and electromagnetic pulses (EMPs). It was this focus on quality that allowed the US to put a man on the moon, have stealth fighters that rule the skies, and submarines that "make like a hole in the water."

How Alan Turing still casts his genius in the age of cyberwar

Josh Layton

More than 80 years since he played a pivotal role in cracking the German Enigma code, Alan Turing continues to aid the defence of the realm.

The codebreaker’s legacy is still having an impact in an age where cyberwarfare has replaced typewriters and the cogs and rotors of decryption machines.

As the UK faces an unprecedented threat, a line can be traced back to the founder of computer science and his team’s scramble to intercept enemy ciphers in Hut 8 at Bletchley Park.

The gifted mathematician’s contribution was this week hailed as a timely reminder in LGBT+ History Month that tolerance can be beneficial to all in society.

In November, MI5’s director general traced the line when he referenced a partnership between the UK security agency and scientific charity The Alan Turing Institute.