14 March 2023

Forging a High-Technology Partnership Between the United States and India in the Age of Export Controls


For all the talk about U.S.-China decoupling and its implications for the currently rickety narrative of globalization, recent years have demonstrated that reports about the looming demise of globalization are exaggerated. Instead, a recalibration is underway of the long-prevailing terms on which globalization had played out and that were fundamentally premised on just-in-time supply chains.

A lot of the discussions on what globalization will look like in the future revolve around companies operating in multiple jurisdictions shifting their supply chains to other countries as a part of the process of global value chain diversification. It is here that experts have spoken about India possibly entering the fray as a candidate for where these supply chains can be relocated. This is the second-order effect of supply chain fragmentation—a scenario where India must jockey with other countries that seek to onshore such supply chains.

While India has positioned itself admirably to benefit from the fractious nature of the U.S.-China relationship, most of the onshoring to India has been in the form of consumer technology products like mobile handsets and solar energy equipment. What is missing from the picture is a focus on cutting-edge high-technology items like semiconductors, high-performance computing, and commercial space technology.

These sectors are significant for India as it starts to take an unprecedented interest in developing its high-technology sectors. Key members of the present government have also realized that a long-standing proclivity for a service-sector-led economy—India’s engine of growth—is simply not feasible at a time when India seeks to advocate for and transition to a more vigorous industrial base. It is here that a U.S.-India high-technology partnership assumes significance. However, U.S. export controls, specifically those under a regime called the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (the ITAR), may need to be carefully considered before this partnership can deliver.

Publication: Hidden Potential: Rethinking Informality in South Asia

Bussolo, Maurizio (ed.)

Informality remains widespread in South Asia despite decades of economic growth. The low earnings and high vulnerability in the informal sector make this a major development issue for the region. Yet, there is no consensus on its causes and consequences, with the debate polarized between a view that informality is a problem of regulatory evasion and should be eradicated, and another which equates informality with economic exclusion. These views are at odds with the heterogeneity observed among informal firms. Recent advances in analyzing informality as the outcome of firm dynamics in distorted economic environments can help reconcile them. Building on these advances, the approach adopted in this volume clarifies that there are different types of informality, with different drivers and consequences. Using this approach, the papers in this volume revisit old questions about the relationship of informality to regulation and taxation, and also pose new ones, such as how digital technologies and multi-faceted policy designs can improve prospects in the informal sector. They have four main messages. First, informality in South Asia is dominated by firms that happen to be outside the purview of regulations because they are small, as opposed to those that remain small to escape regulations. Second, reforms of business regulations tend to have small direct effects on the informal sector, though they could have sizable indirect impacts on it if they succeed in removing major inefficiencies in the broader economy. Third, e-commerce platforms (and similar technologies) offer new opportunities to informal firms and workers, but many of them lack complementary skills or credit to benefit from such technologies. Fourth, a combination of contributory and non-contributory programs recognizing the heterogenous saving capacities of informal workers may be necessary to achieve more universal coverage of social insurance. A multi-pronged strategy is needed to tackle the developmental challenges presented by informality.

China Is Pushing Disengagement With the United States Hard

Covell Meyskens

As talk of a new Cold War with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) becomes ever more normal in the United States, a common discussion point in foreign policy circles has been that Washington was wrong to engage with Beijing over the past few decades. Critics point out that China has not, as Americans hoped, transformed from an authoritarian country into a like-minded democracy. Instead, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has become stronger and more autocratic, China’s economy has gained more international leverage, and the People’s Liberation Army has developed into the United States’ top military competitor.

To rectify what they see as the United States’ mistaken policy of engagement, U.S. commentators and politicians now regularly call for Washington to work with its allies and partners to contain China’s rise. Some analysts have taken exception to this new geopolitical consensus in Washington and urged the United States not to abandon engagement with China on areas of shared concern, at the very least to avoid a military or climate catastrophe.

Yet any attempt to find common ground with China will have to confront the fact that there are plenty of advocates of disengagement in Beijing itself. A little under a decade ago, a frequent refrain in Chinese foreign policy circles was that Beijing was not ready to be a global leader and still had much to learn from the United States, and should continue to engage with the country. And when Chinese President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, this sort of talk did not immediately disappear. During my last trip to China in 2019, several scholars in Shanghai still downplayed the PRC’s capability to lead globally and stressed the need to cooperate with and study the United States.

China’s New Legislation on Deepfakes: Should the Rest of Asia Follow Suit?

Asha Hemrajani

On January 10, after a year-long public comment period, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) rolled out new legislation to regulate providers of deepfake content. While certain Western state and national governments have already introduced some legislation in this space, the new Chinese legislation is far more comprehensive and is described as a mechanism to preserve social stability. It specifically prohibits the production of deepfakes without user consent and requires specific identification that the content had been generated using artificial intelligence (AI).

Will this legislation be effective, and should other Asian countries follow suit?

What Are Deepfakes?

A deepfake is a piece of modified content created using deep learning, a form of AI called Generative AI. There are a variety of deepfake techniques, but the most commonly seen example is the deepfake video in which the face of a person in the video is swapped with another person’s face. These videos are made with AI algorithms called encoders to make realistic looking but fake content.

Several factors have fostered the development and uptake of deepfakes globally. The necessary technology – specifically, the AI algorithms and models, datasets, and computing power needed to create deepfakes – is readily available today. In addition, it is relatively simple to create deepfake videos using easily available apps and platforms that generate deepfakes as a service. A quick survey of the commercially available apps (free and paid) shows multiple ways to combine images/videos of known personalities and content from the deepfake creator to create media that, at first glance, appear genuine. There are freelance experts available to help create even better quality deepfakes to prevent detection. The advent of 5G networks, which support larger bandwidths, has further enabled the ease of generation and dissemination of deepfakes.

China outpacing US in critical tech research ‘should be a wake up call’: report


WASHINGTON — China is outpacing the US and other democratic nations in 37 out of 44 technology research areas considered advanced and critical, setting the stage for potentially devastating immediate and long-term consequences if western nations don’t “wake up,” according to a think tank’s latest findings.

In a new report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), the US comes second to China in the majority of critical technology research areas examined, like artificial intelligence, robotics, biotechnology and quantum technology and specifically in defense and space-related technologies. The report uses ASPI’s new Critical Technology Tracker, a tool that lets users track 44 technologies considered “foundational” for national security, economies and more areas.

“These findings should be a wake-up call for democratic nations, who must rapidly pursue a strategic critical technology step-up,” according to the report. “Governments around the world should work both collaboratively and individually to catch up to China and, more broadly, they must pay greater attention to the world’s centre of technological innovation and strategic competition: the Indo-Pacific.”

ASPI’s policy brief follows similar reports from other think tanks, like the Special Competitive Studies Project’s September 2022 report saying the US is losing its technological dominance and commercial data company Govini’s analysis from last year saying that, despite the Defense Department’s investments seemingly skyrocketing in advanced technologies, the US still isn’t investing nearly enough in order to outpace China.

The Daring Ruse That Exposed China’s Campaign to Steal American Secrets

Yudhijit Bhattacharjee

In March 2017, an engineer at G.E. Aviation in Cincinnati whom I will refer to using part of his Chinese given name — received a request on LinkedIn. Hua is in his 40s, tall and athletic, with a boyish face that makes him look a decade younger. He moved to the United States from China in 2003 for graduate studies in structural engineering. After earning his Ph.D. in 2007, he went to work for G.E., first at the company’s research facility in Niskayuna, N.Y., for a few years, then at G.E. Aviation.

The LinkedIn request came from Chen Feng, a school official at the Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (N.U.A.A.), in eastern China. Like most people who use LinkedIn, Hua was accustomed to connecting with professionals on the site whom he didn’t know personally, so the request did not strike him as unusual. “I didn’t even think much about it before accepting,” Hua told me. Days later, Chen sent him an email inviting him to N.U.A.A. to give a research presentation.

Hua had always desired academic recognition. “When I did my Ph.D., I initially wanted to be a professor in China or in the United States,” he says. But because his studies were focused more on practical applications than pure research, a career in industry made more sense than one in academia. At G.E. Aviation, he was part of a group that designed containment cases for the rotating fan blades of jet engines. The use of carbon-based composites in fan blades and their casings, instead of metal, means lighter engines and a commercial advantage.

After the Iran Deal: A Plan B to Contain the Islamic Republic

Suzanne Maloney

When U.S. President Joe Biden assumed office, he was determined to resuscitate the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), from which his predecessor, Donald Trump, had unilaterally withdrawn the United States in 2018. Biden quickly appointed a special envoy to begin negotiations with Tehran and the five great powers that remain party to the agreement: China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom. In his first speech before the United Nations, he declared that his administration was “prepared to return to full compliance” and was engaged in diplomacy to persuade Iran to do the same. Reaching a new agreement would be difficult. Senior Biden administration officials and many outside experts hoped for a “longer and stronger” deal. But Tehran had advanced its nuclear program since the Trump administration’s withdrawal and demanded a stiff price to roll that progress back. Biden nonetheless hoped his team could create a new understanding that would lower the risk of nuclear proliferation.

Despite the challenges, trying to salvage the deal made tremendous sense for Biden. The president was eager to shake off the United States’ post-9/11 entanglements in the Middle East, and he wanted to show the world that after the tumultuous Trump era, Washington was again committed to diplomacy. Resurrecting the deal was central to Biden’s plan for restoring U.S. leadership in the world—a tangible step toward undoing the reputational damage incurred by Trump’s abandonment of the agreement.

But as the boxer Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan until you get punched in the face.” And Biden’s Iran aspirations have suffered from multiple blows. The first came in February 2022, when Russia invaded Ukraine and irrevocably shattered the great-power coordination that had enabled the nuclear deal to take place. A second punch landed in August, when Iran began shipping drones to Russia, making Tehran an even more prominent and harmful nemesis. And a third blow arrived in September, when protests erupted across Iran against the government’s brutality, captivating the world, undermining the regime’s control, and making any agreement that would send Tehran massive new resources both dangerous and unsavory. By itself, each of these jolts was enough to keep JCPOA on the ropes. Together, they constituted a knockout.

THE NEW ANARCHY: America faces a type of extremist violence it does not know how to stop.

Adrienne LaFrance

“Blood grows hot, and blood is spilled. Thought is forced from old channels into confusion. Deception breeds and thrives. Confidence dies, and universal suspicion reigns. Each man feels an impulse to kill his neighbor, lest he be first killed by him. Revenge and retaliation follow. And all this … may be among honest men only. But this is not all. Every foul bird comes abroad, and every dirty reptile rises up. These add crime to confusion.”
— Abraham Lincoln, letter to the Missouri abolitionist Charles D. Drake, 1863


In the weeks before Labor Day 2020, Ted Wheeler, the mayor of Portland, Oregon, began warning people that he believed someone would soon be killed by extremists in his city. Portland was preparing for the 100th consecutive day of conflict among anti-police protesters, right-wing counterprotesters, and the police themselves. Night after night, hundreds of people clashed in the streets. They attacked one another with baseball bats, Tasers, bear spray, fireworks. They filled balloons with urine and marbles and fired them at police officers with slingshots. The police lobbed flash-bang grenades. One man shot another in the eye with a paintball gun and pointed a loaded revolver at a screaming crowd. The FBI notified the public of a bomb threat against federal buildings in the city. Several homemade bombs were hurled into a group of people in a city park.

Why the U.S. Trade Office No Longer Runs Trade

Edward Alden

Who runs U.S. trade policy? For many decades, the answer was clear: the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office (USTR), an elite team of trade lawyers that has negotiated every big deal from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and been responsible for enforcing their terms. But under the Biden administration, the center of power has moved one mile southeast in Washington—from the USTR, headed by Katherine Tai, to the Commerce Department under Gina Raimondo.

The shift has significant implications for Washington’s trading partners. USTR’s mission has long been economic liberalization: constructing and maintaining a set of global rules that minimize constraints on trade and investment. The business of the Commerce Department, however, is the defense and promotion of U.S. companies and the protection of U.S. technologies. The rising power of the Commerce Department is entrenching a fundamental shift in the direction of U.S. trade policy, which has been moving away from nurturing the rules-based trading order and toward building U.S. competitive advantage, especially in the growing rivalry with China.

Consider the past couple of weeks. The Commerce Department rolled out new rules that will govern the disbursement of $50 billion in subsidies for companies building semiconductor plants in the United States. The goal is to make the United States a global powerhouse in chip manufacturing. The department also announced that several dozen Chinese companies would be added to the “entities list,” which restricts sales of advanced U.S. technologies to those companies. Officials are also considering withdrawing existing export licenses that permit U.S. companies to still sell some chips and other goods to Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant. This follows several years of ever more stringent sanctions against Huawei and other Chinese technology companies—actions developed and enforced by the Commerce Department. Commerce Secretary Raimondo is also involved in efforts by the U.S. Congress and Biden administration to restrict investments in China by U.S. companies for the first time.

America Is Too Scared of the Multipolar World

Stephen M. Walt

After the United States moved from the darkness of the Cold War into the pleasant glow of the so-called unipolar moment, a diverse array of scholars, pundits, and world leaders began predicting, yearning for, or actively seeking a return to a multipolar world. Not surprisingly, Russian and Chinese leaders have long expressed a desire for a more multipolar order, as have the leaders of emerging powers such as India or Brazil. More interestingly, so have important U.S. allies. Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder warned of the “undeniable danger” of U.S. unilateralism, and former French Foreign Minister Hubert Védrine once declared that “the entire foreign policy of France … is aimed at making the world of tomorrow composed of several poles, not just one.” Current French President Emmanuel Macron’s support for European unity and strategic autonomy reveals a similar impulse.

Surprise, surprise: U.S. leaders don’t agree. They prefer the expansive opportunities and gratifying status that come from being the indispensable power, and they have been loath to abandon a position of unchallenged primacy. Back in 1991, the George H.W. Bush administration prepared a defense guidance document calling for active efforts to prevent the emergence of peer competitors anywhere in the world. The various National Security Strategy documents issued by Republicans and Democrats in subsequent years have all extolled the need to maintain U.S. primacy, even when they acknowledge the return of great power competition. Prominent academics have weighed in too—some arguing that U.S. primacy is “essential to the future of freedom,” and good for the United States and the world alike. I’ve contributed to this view myself, writing in 2005 that “the central aim of U.S. grand strategy should be to preserve its position of primacy for as long as possible.” (My advice on how to achieve that goal was ignored, however.)

Russia remains a ‘very capable’ cyber adversary, Nakasone says

Colin Demarest

WASHINGTON — U.S. Cyber Command is keeping a close watch on digital activity in the Russia-Ukraine war that may coincide with a springtime renewal of military operations, according to the organization’s leader, Gen. Paul Nakasone.

Nakasone, who oversees both CYBERCOM and the National Security Agency, told the Senate Armed Services Committee March 7 that his teams are monitoring the situation in Ukraine “very carefully,” noting that Russia remains a “very capable adversary.”

“By no means is this done, in terms of the Russia-Ukraine situation,” Nakasone said, responding to questions from Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat. “So, as Russia looks at armaments coming into the country, as Russia looks at different support, how do they react?”

The war in Eastern Europe kicked off Feb. 24, 2022, when Moscow launched a surprise incursion across the border into Ukraine, seeking to topple the government in Kyiv.

The invasion was preceded by a flurry of cyberattacks, including one on Viasat, a California company, meant to cripple command and control networks. The hack had no effect on Viasat’s government customers.

Hard Security Back in Focus at the Quad Foreign Ministers Meet

Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

The foreign ministers of the Quad countries — Australia’s Penny Wong, India’s S. Jaishankar, Japan’s Hayashi Yoshimasa, and the United States’ Antony Blinken — met in New Delhi a few days ago. The foreign ministers in their joint statement underscored their “steadfast commitment to supporting a free and open Indo-Pacific, which is inclusive and resilient.” The statement also noted their strong support for “the principles of freedom, rule of law, sovereignty and territorial integrity, peaceful settlement of disputes without resorting to threat or use of force and freedom of navigation and overflight, and oppos[ition to] any unilateral attempt to change the status quo, all of which are essential to the peace, stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.”

Following the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic across the world, the four partners had expanded the focus of the Quad to non-security issues such as health security and vaccine diplomacy. However, it now appears that the Quad is regaining its security salience with the joint statement reiterating the importance of political and hard security issues, including maritime security, counterterrorism, and cyber security, though Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) continues on the agenda.

The four ministers also reaffirmed the importance of “the rules-based international order” which is “anchored in international law, including the U.N. Charter, and the principles of sovereignty, political independence, and territorial integrity of all states.” The joint statement also highlighted the development of a prosperous Indo-Pacific based on the prevalence of “peace and security in the maritime domain,” which can be accomplished only through “respect for sovereignty, consistent with international law, as reflected in the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to meet challenges to the maritime rules-based order, including in the South and East China Seas.” The statement rejected unilateral actions to change the status quo and stroke tensions in the region as well as the “dangerous use” of maritime militia and coast guard vessels to perpetuate tensions as well as to violate the sanctity of maritime borders.

At 17.3 Billion In Arms Sales, South Korea Emerges As One Of The Biggest Winners From Ukraine-Russia War

Sakshi Tiwari

The Rusia-Ukraine war sparked an international drive to increase the production of missiles, tanks, artillery rounds, and other armaments. Despite not directly arming Ukraine, South Korea has taken the lead in arms production and export.

Despite being a seasoned ally of the United States, which is leading global efforts at arming Ukraine, South Korea has refused to participate in arms transfer to the war-torn country directly. However, previous media reports indicated that the Asian defense giant was selling ammunition to the US, which would ultimately be delivered to Ukraine.

Seoul has maintained a wary stance not to rile up Moscow, which it believes will support further imposing sanctions on hostile North Korea. This is in tune with the position of countries in Latin America and another ally of the US, Israel.

The New York Times reported that South Korea’s arms exports rose 140% to a record $17.3 billion in 2022. These defense export volumes include deals worth $12.4 billion in sales to Poland, as it maintains a precarious balance between its unwavering ties to Washington and its own economic and national interests.

The report further states that South Korea has maintained a strong domestic military supply chain to meet demand from its armed forces and to defend against North Korea, unlike American allies in Europe who reduced their militaries and arms production facilities at the end of the Cold War.

Russia's elite tank unit was meant to get its most advanced armor. Instead, it's fighting with obsolete Soviet tanks from the '60s, UK intel says.

Joshua Zitser

Russia's military is fighting with 60-year-old T-62 tanks, having been forced to bring the retired vehicles out of storage to the front lines in Ukraine in response to heavy armored-vehicle losses, the UK's Defense Ministry said Monday.

The ministry said in an intelligence update that even the 1st Guards Tank Army, which has long been considered an elite Russian unit, was being reequipped with dated Soviet-era T-62s.

The 1st Guards Tank Army was due to receive next-generation T-14 Armata main battle tanks — Russia's newest and most powerful — starting in 2021, the intelligence update said. The T-14 is a high-tech vehicle said to have defense systems capable of shooting down anti-tank rockets, as well as sophisticated sensors, onboard drones, and a high level of automation.

Instead, it's receiving T-62 tanks, which were first adopted by the Soviet Union in 1961 and ceased production in the '70s, according to the UK's Defense Ministry.

T-62s, 19FortyFive reported, would be at a "grave disadvantage" in a head-to-head fight against Ukrainian tanks because of their inferior sensors, fire control, armor, and armor penetration. The UK's Defense Ministry also noted the absence of modern explosive-reactive armor as a vulnerability.

Putin 'improving' in Ukraine as Russia on cusp of mass military mobilisation


The world "shouldn't underestimate" Russia in the Ukraine war despite a year of setbacks and embarrassments, Express.co.uk has been told. It comes as the country is believed to be preparing to send hundreds of thousands of conscripts to the frontline in eastern Ukraine, where a long and bloody battle has been taking place for months. Intense fighting is happening in and around the city of Bakhmut, and both Russia and Ukraine are struggling to replenish their dwindling ammunition stores.

Reports now suggest that soldiers in the region are increasingly fighting in close combat situations, with the UK Defence Ministry claiming Russian troops are resorting to fighting with shovels.

It all points to a Russia seriously on the back foot and one that may not be able to hold out for much longer without the help of foreign powers.

Yet, while the situation appears to be falling out of Vladimir Putin's favour, some are still weary of calling short the country's chances.

What Moscow currently lacks in firepower and international support it makes up for in sheer manpower.

Ukraine is building up its forces for an offensive

On september 22nd 1941 Britain declared “tanks for Russia” week, with factories churning out armour to “repel the savage invaders”. The wife of the Soviet ambassador in London christened the first tank personally: “Stalin”. The first Leopard tank to arrive in Ukraine, a gift from Poland in February, has remained anonymous. But it is the vanguard of a substantial arsenal coming Ukraine’s way. While all eyes are now on the battle for the eastern town of Bakhmut, attention will soon turn to an expected counter-offensive that could start as early as April.

The German-made Leopard has been at the heart of tricky debates among Ukraine’s partners. On January 25th Olaf Scholz, Germany’s chancellor, ended weeks of dithering by promising to send the Leopard 2a6, an advanced variant. Many thought that would unleash a torrent of donations from the dozen other European countries which operate Leopards. It has been more of a trickle. So far, the coalition has pledged just two battalions of the most modern Leopards (a Ukrainian tank battalion is supposed to have 31 tanks). Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands are also purchasing at least 100 older, but refurbished, Leopard 1a5s for Ukraine, making up another three battalions.

The Leopards are being supplemented with a motley collection of other tanks. Britain is sending a company of 14 Challenger 2s. America has promised 31 m1a2 Abrams, the most advanced tanks in its arsenal, though it looks likely that they will not arrive for months. Poland, which has promised 14 Leopards and has already sent around 250 Soviet-designed t-72 tanks to Ukraine, will send 60 modernised t-72s. A variety of infantry fighting vehicles, from the ageing Soviet-era bmp-1 to America’s Stryker and Bradley vehicles, will pad out the armoured brigades.

The Ukrainian Economy Just Keeps On Going

Benjamin Bidder and Michael Kröger

Whenever the power goes out yet again in western Ukraine, Maxim Ivanov’s business starts humming – from the roar of the diesel generator in front of his company’s offices in Ivano-Frankivsk, a town southeast of Lviv.

The name of the colossal machine from Turkey is "Teksan Jeneratör," and it churns out 80 kilowatts of electricity – plenty to keep the 350-employee company going. It’s also enough to thwart the plans of Russian President Vladimir Putin. That, at least, is how Ivanov sees it.

His IT company, called Aimprosoft, employs programmers, web designers and project managers. Their customers tend to be companies in Western Europe that are reluctant to hire their own tech workers or can no longer find the expertise they need in their domestic labor markets. Despite the war, Ivanov’s customers don’t need to worry about undue delays. Regardless whether Russia targets a major powerplant or a nearby transfer station, Aimprosoft just keeps on going, thanks to the generator and a stockpile of diesel sufficient for a 10-day blackout.

How Russia Planned For The Wrong War — With The Wrong Army

Yuri Fedorov

In the early days of the Russian invasion, both Moscow and the West predicted Ukraine would quickly be defeated.

On Feb. 26, 2022, the American Institute for the Study of War wrote: “Russia will likely defeat Ukrainian regular military forces and secure their territorial objectives at some point in the coming days or weeks if Putin is determined to do so and willing to pay the cost in blood and treasure.”

Events, however, took a different path.

Commentators are quick to pin the Russian army’s inability to claim victory in Ukraine on the gross miscalculations of Russia’s secret service (FSB), Putin's absurd belief that Ukrainian statehood would collapse at the first blow of the Russian military machine — and the many errors in political and military planning that resulted.

This implies that if Russia had made wiser decisions, the weak Ukrainian army would not have survived.

The Political Dilemma May Be Just the Tip of the Iceberg for Europe When Deciding Whether to Send Fighter Jets to Ukraine

James Black and Ben Caves

When Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky met British parliamentarians in London and asked for fighter planes—an ask repeated in meetings with French, German and EU leaders—immediate attention focused on the political and strategic implications of his request. But supplying military equipment to another country's forces can be far from straightforward. The logistical, operational, and technical considerations here are immensely complex, and any offer made by NATO allies to Ukraine might best come with a credible plan for deployment and effect—not just a cheque that cannot be cashed.

As the Feb. 24 anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine approached, defense planners faced a series of thorny questions. How many aircraft could be made available? Are supply chains in place to ensure maintenance and safety? How to integrate Western aircraft with other Ukrainian weapons and systems, and ensure they can operate effectively alongside other forces on the battlefield? What changes would be needed to what the military dubs Tactics, Techniques and Procedures? How to adapt Ukrainian air bases and runways, or train pilots and ground crews, to make all of this possible?

While the Ukrainian Air Force maintains a credible footprint—and it has been a failure of the Russian campaign not to have addressed this—operations such as Close Air Support (which integrate Land and Air Forces at close quarter) may require equipment familiarization and considerable rehearsal to be achieved safely. The risk of fratricide or blue on blue incidences as a result of poor training and familiarization is something else for decision makers to consider.

A Nuke for a Nuke? Public Debate and Political Party Views on Nuclear Acquisition in South Korea

Erik Mobrand

The possibility of independent South Korean nuclear acquisition has become a topic for analysis in American policy discussions, where much has been made of polls showing more than two-thirds of sampled South Koreans supporting their country acquiring nuclear weapons. However, these poll results should be read with circumspection. There are questions about whether respondents consider the consequences and questions about the logic behind this stated support. Voters in South Korea might not be happy if their elected leaders decided to build nuclear weapons, only to find the economic and diplomatic consequences disastrous. Representative democracy works by giving power to elected leaders to make the tough decisions. Democracy is not a survey.

Popular views, ostensibly revealed through surveys, do not necessarily inform political and public debate. It can also work the other way around. Polls, punditry, and press treatment can become resources for other purposes. Far from reflecting views on an issue, analysis and reporting can be used to will an “issue” into existence. U.S.-based researchers should understand the state of public discussion in South Korea over nuclear acquisition, not least so that they can come to grips with the consequences of public claims they might make.

For reasons that are known, South Korea could have a debate over the acquisition of nuclear weapons. North Korea's shifting capabilities mean that there might be changes in the priorities of the United States and South Korea. In a democracy like South Korea, such a debate might also become a matter of partisan or popular struggle.

Putin Could Escalate with Nuclear Testing

William Courtney

Russian President Vladimir Putin has put the world on notice that Russia might resume nuclear explosive testing. He may see this as bolstering his scare tactics over Ukraine by signaling a possible willingness to use nuclear weapons. While testing could also help Russia improve its nuclear arms, politics rather than technology are likely to drive any decision to test.

In his February 21 state of the nation address, Putin falsely claimed that some in Washington were considering breaking a three-decade-long moratorium on nuclear testing. This is ominous. A long-standing Kremlin tactic is to accuse others of doing what it plans to do.

During the Cold War, the United States and the USSR did an enormous amount of nuclear testing. Over four-plus decades, the USSR conducted 715 tests and the United States, 1,032. Soviet testing took place at Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan, and the Arctic archipelago of Novaya Zemlya in Russia.

Early Soviet tests in the atmosphere wreaked untold health and environmental damage, especially at Semipalatinsk. A year after the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, Moscow and Washington concluded a Partial (or Limited) Test Ban Treaty. It pushed tests underground, reducing their harm.

The Three Vladimir Putins

Brian Michael Jenkins

A savvy old intelligence hand once told me that, “You're in trouble when assessing your opponent's next move depends on remote psychoanalysis.” His comment would certainly apply to current efforts to understand the motivations of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

What happens next in the war in Ukraine depends almost exclusively on the mindset, will, and decisions of this one man. He has led Russia for more than 23 years. It was his decision to invade Ukraine. He is responsible for the escalation of the war. He alone will decide the next move.

American intelligence correctly predicted that Russia would invade Ukraine. Russia miscalculated that instead of welcoming Russian troops as liberators or quickly collapsing, the Ukrainians were able to mount a valiant defense and, as a consequence, inspire unanticipated foreign assistance. What will Russia do next?

If unable to grind down Ukrainian forces with superior numbers and brutal tactics, will Russia mobilize for a long war? Putin has already threatened to use nuclear weapons—will he do it? If offered a way out of the war with sufficient territorial swag, will he take it? But will he then proceed to other targets?

Hungary and Russia

George Friedman

The Russian government has informed Hungary that its diplomats entering Russia will have to pay a fee rather than pass into Russia without paying for visas. Since levying a minor charge on diplomats entering countries is fairly common, Russia’s move seems inconsequential. However, Russia also said that the fee will be levied until the Hungarians rectify certain violations of an agreement, which is presumably the agreement governing diplomatic relations.

What makes this significant is that Hungary, fairly alone among European nations, has developed a singularly friendly relationship with Russia. Recall that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban visited Moscow shortly before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Orban was seen conversing with Russian President Vladimir Putin about war and making a deal for a large amount of Russian natural gas to be delivered to Hungary. More important, Hungary refused to join the coalition coalescing to resist Russia. As recently as last week, Orban said that the fight between Russia and Ukraine is not a matter of concern to Hungary. Hungary was therefore the country in Europe least committed to supporting Ukraine and most enjoying its relationship with Russia.

This is what elevates a seemingly trivial bureaucratic misunderstanding to something noteworthy. Russia has no positive relations with members of the EU aside from Hungary, and it’s odd that Moscow would allow any doubt to be cast on that relationship. It is not the importance of the policy shift; there is none. It is Russia’s decision to impose this fee on a friendly nation, and then to publicize it, at a time when President Vladimir Putin needs to find a way to change Europe’s point of view on the war.

One year since Russia invaded Ukraine

Inés Arco, Pol Bargués, Moussa Bourekba, Víctor Burguete, Carmen Claudín

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has had a global impact: on the strategic competition between the United States and China, on global resource markets, as well as on Ukraine's own institution-building.

Russian aggression has made Ukraine stronger. Never before has the Ukrainian civic identity been more assertive and more widely shared.

The invasion and subsequent adoption of sanctions by the West have caused the sharpest global economic slowdown in almost 50 years, behind only the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2008 global financial crisis.

On February 24th 2022, the conflict in Ukraine became a war with global impact. The Russian army’s rapid entry into eastern Ukraine also hastened the breakdown of what remained of the post-Cold War order in Europe. Security architecture paradigms have changed dramatically at both global and European levels. US–China strategic competition, global resource markets and even Ukraine's institutional construction have all been shaken by the war.

As the conflict continues to escalate on the ground, this CIDOB Nota Internacional analyses its impact in the geopolitical, economic, technological and migration fields. With no path to resolution in sight, the threat of a long war or a frozen conflict is the worst-case scenario for both Ukraine and Europe.

Jamestown Foundation

Terrorism Monitor, February 21, 2023, v. 23, no. 4 
  • Brief: Indonesian Counter-Terrorism Force Detains JI and JAD Remnants
  • Brief: Thai Peace Talks Continue Amid Anonymous Militant Group Attacks
  • Recruitment and Radicalization Behind Bars in Bangladesh
  • The Reemergence of the Jihadist Counter-Intelligence Group in Pakistan: Lashkar-e-Khorasan
  • Will Iran’s Fatemiyoun and Zainebiyoun Brigades Reinforce the Russian Army in Ukraine?

New Space Force team to streamline ‘onboarding’ new tech for operational use


WASHINGTON — The Space Force has put together a new team under Space Operations Command to streamline the processes the service uses to bring already proven but still experimental tech more quickly into the hands of Guardians, Space Force officials told Breaking Defense.

Space Operations Command (SpOC) Commander Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting established the team, led by the Acting Deputy Commander General-Operations (DCG-O) Christopher Ayres.

“DCG-O is working on ways to accelerate the delivery, or onboarding, of [capabilities] to the field faster. The current threat environment demands that we deliver these capabilities faster. To onboard faster means we have to look at all elements of the process to include at logistics, sustainment, training, testing and personnel requirements,” a Space Force spokesperson confirmed.

That review includes an effort to speed high-priority, usually classified, new capabilities developed by the Space Rapid Capabilities Office (SpRCO) through the “operational integration” process, according to service officials.

SpRCO head Kelly Hammett told Breaking Defense that the idea is to “challenge the current system.” The issue, especially for SpRCO, is that the operational integration process involves “tens of force generation elements with POAMS [plans of action and milestones] that take years to close everything out,” he said.

Defending every domain from the highest domain

Northrop Grumman and AFRL are developing the Space Solar Power Incremental Demonstrations and Research Project to beam solar energy from space to the ground. Image courtesy of Northrop Grumman.

In this Q&A with Jay Patel, vice president, Remote Sensing Programs at Northrop Grumman, we discuss: resilient payloads, the vital interplay between upgradeable ground stations and payloads, and the company’s work with AFRL to beam solar power to austere Earth environments for military and civilian applications.

Breaking Defense: Describe the Remote Sensing Programs (RSP) technology offerings, and how these systems are connected.

Patel: With decades of experience in space-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), Northrop Grumman Remote Sensing Programs is a premier developer of ISR mission systems payloads. Leveraging transformative digital capabilities together with advanced lightweight deployable structures offers compatibility with modern mission architectures and maximizes flexibility and interoperability. We are pioneering trusted mission expertise in space-based radar, radio frequency (RF) sensing, resiliency systems and electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR).

Ukraine one year on: When tech companies go to war

Irene Sánchez Cózar, José Ignacio Torreblanca

Technology has shaped warfare for thousands of years. Russia’s war in Ukraine, however, is perhaps the first conflict in which global technology companies have played such a direct and central role. This is because many domains that are critical in securing a state’s territorial integrity are now controlled by these companies – including cyber-security, satellite imagery, access to the internet, and the surveillance of information. NATO and European leaders should learn from Ukraine’s experience and reassess how they work with tech companies to prevent and fight future wars.
The role of tech giants in Ukraine

Russia pursues multiple strategic goals through its hybrid warfare – which includes conventional, irregular, informational, and cyber elements. These goals range from the destruction of Ukraine’s critical digital assets to global disinformation campaigns. The Kremlin also regularly combines cyber-warfare with kinetic operations: for example, in the simultaneous shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and major cyber-attack against its operator – Ukraine’s state nuclear power company, Energoatom.

It would not be possible to counter this kind of warfare without the input of tech companies. Microsoft and Amazon, for example, have proven fundamental in helping Ukrainian public and private actors secure their critical software services. They have done so by moving their on-site premises to cloud servers to guarantee the continuity of their activities and aid in the detection of and response to cyber-attacks. Moreover, Google has assisted Ukraine on more than one front: it created an air raid alerts app to protect Ukraine’s citizens against Russian bombardment, while also expanding its free anti-distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) software – Project Shield – which is used to protect Ukraine’s networks against cyber-attacks.

What can security teams learn from a year of cyber warfare?

Alex Scroxton,

Days, weeks, even months before Russia’s armies crossed the border into Ukraine on 24 February 2022, security experts were warning of an impending cyber war the likes of which the world had never seen.

Talk of destructive attacks against critical targets in the West that might draw Nato into the conflict grew when, prior to the invasion, increasing volumes of cyber attacks against targets in Ukraine were launched to lay the groundwork for Russia’s attack. This culminated in the discovery of multiple data wipers – malwares that look and act like ransomware lockers, but destroy data rather than encrypt it.

With the benefit of hindsight it is easy to see how so many were swept along. Russia-based threat actors have become the bête noire of the cyber security community, and not unreasonably so, for they are highly active, highly sophisticated and highly dangerous.

Recent geopolitical history also sets a precedent, littered as it is with Russian state-linked cyber attacks on Ukraine, some of which, such as NotPetya, spilled over to have global impacts.

Jamie Collier, senior threat intelligence advisor at Google Cloud’s Mandiant, looks back. “At the start of the conflict, there was definitely a lot of concern about the spill-over,” he says. “There was talk along the lines of, are we going to see another NotPetya, or wiper malwares with all kinds of propagation features spreading uncontrollably, [and] concern about critical infrastructure – not just in Ukraine but across Europe.”

Ukraine Is a 'Testing Ground' for Russia-U.S. Cyber War: Official


Russia's UN cybersecurity representative, Irina Tyazhlova, accused Western countries of training Ukrainian forces to attack Russian targets.
Ukraine's State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection has reported a trebling in the number of cyber incidents recorded in 2022.
American officials have warned that the cyber threat posed by Russia remains real and serious.

Russia's cybersecurity representative at the United Nations has accused Moscow's Western adversaries of using Ukraine as a "testing ground" for new cyber warfare capabilities, while also training up Ukrainian cyber forces to attack Russian targets.

Irina Tyazhlova alleged on Tuesday that American and allied warnings about Russian hacker groups and other cyber threats are intended to "conceal their own destructive activities in cyberspace," according to Russia's state-run Tass news agency.

"NATO countries openly seek to militarize cyberspace, actively increasing their offensive capabilities and improving ways to conduct cyberattacks," Tyazhlova said. "There is ample documentary evidence of this, including the public revelations of high-ranking officials [about] acts of cyber sabotage against Russia."