15 April 2023

US Think Tank Asks Washington To Prepare For Sino-Indian Border Clashes

P. K. Balachandran

The Center for New American Security says the US has to defend India for the sake of Indo-Pacific security

The US think tank, Center for New American Security (CNAS) in its report published in March, recommends that US policymakers must “closely monitor” the Sino-Indian border conflict and be prepared to respond “quickly” if the conflict escalates.

The authors of the report, Lisa Curtis and Derek Grossman, admit that India does not seek direct US involvement in the India-China border dispute or any crisis that may arise there, but noted that New Delhi is confident that it can count on the US for some forms of support, if requested.

The report entitled: “India-China border tensions and US strategy in India” says that Indian officials believe that China is trying to contain India by forcing it to divert more resources into defending simultaneously both its western border with Pakistan and eastern flank with China. China’s basic aim is to prevent India from challenging its bid to dominate the region.

Developments along the LAC in 2020 had brought clarity to India’s strategic approach to China. India’s views of the China challenge are starting to converge with those of the US, the report says.

To help deter and respond to Chinese aggression along the border with India, the report recommends that the US does the following: –

1. Elevate Indian territorial disputes with China on par with Beijing’s assertiveness against other US allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific.

2. Offer India the sophisticated military technology it requires to defend its borders and initiate co-production and co-development of military equipment.

Is America’s global preeminence under threat?


If it is to remain the world’s preeminent power, the United States must focus its attention on the globally ascendant and expansionist China, which, as President Biden acknowledged in his 48-page national security strategy in October, “is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military and technological power to advance that objective.”

The subsequently released National Defense Strategy bluntly stated that China represents “the most comprehensive and serious challenge to U.S. national security.”

Yet America’s deepening involvement in the proxy war with Russia over Ukraine’s future is deflecting U.S. attention from the core challenge posed by China. Instead of exploring a ceasefire agreement to halt what has increasingly become a war of attrition, with neither side in a position to make major advances on the battlefield, the Biden administration and several U.S. allies are training thousands of new Ukrainian military recruits and rapidly arming Ukraine for a spring offensive to help it regain some of its Russia-occupied territories.

With the West sending 40 percent of all its weapons to Ukraine since December, the flow of arms has become a torrent. But offense is inherently much tougher than defense. A major spring offensive by Ukrainian forces (relying on newly supplied Western equipment and with mostly new recruits) could result in massive casualties on their side.

In fact, the longer the war in Ukraine extends, the greater is the likelihood of two tectonic developments unfolding: Russia and China cementing a strategic axis against the West; and Chinese President Xi Jinping launching aggression against Taiwan.

In the second half of the Cold War, following President Nixon’s opening to China, the U.S. co-opted China against the Soviet Union, gradually turning the Sino-American relationship into an informal alliance geared toward containing and rolling back Soviet influence. This two-against-one competition contributed to the Soviet Union’s imperial overstretch and, ultimately, to the West’s triumph in the Cold War without armed conflict.

Paying the Defense Bill: Financing American and Chinese Geostrategic Competition

In the face of what could be a decades-long competition, the United States and China must consider how they will finance defense spending. Leaders in both states are constrained by an intertemporal dilemma: pay the high political cost of raising taxes today, thereby establishing a sustainable revenue source, or avoid political costs and borrow, risking the economic vitality of the state. A state’s status in the international system shapes its ability to navigate this dilemma. Rising challengers can frame fiscal sacrifice today via taxes as an investment in a bright future, while dominant powers face a public that is skeptical that the future will be better than the present, causing leaders to resort to taking on debt. Early evidence suggests that the Biden administration’s framing of a return to a great-power status quo will not result in increased taxes. For China, the narrative of “national rejuvenation” has supported the country’s rise and fiscal strength and may allow for increased taxation despite slowing growth, positioning Beijing to sustain military spending over the long term.

Geopolitical competition tends to last for decades, if not longer. Success in great-power competition therefore requires defense budgeting that not only delivers the necessary military power but can also be sustained — politically, economically, and fiscally — over the long term. As the United States and China set out on a potentially decades-long competition, sustainable defense spending is of critical importance to both countries.

The United States is faced with a daunting defense bill after decades of war associated with the Global War on Terror. Shifting focus to great-power competition — which will require modernizing conventional and nuclear forces, adjusting regional military postures, integrating next-generation warfighting technologies, and supporting key allies and partners — will be incredibly costly.1 Competition with China is just one part of America’s global foreign policy, which includes deterring aggression across Europe, commitments in the Middle East, and worldwide counterterrorism operations. Although the 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan was intended, in part, to align U.S. commitments with stated priorities, without additional major alterations to America’s overseas commitments, current funding is expected to fall short. A 2021 comprehensive study of modernization requirements found that the Department of Defense’s baseline budget will need to “increase by 11 percent in real terms by 2033” to simply sustain current plans.2 And an external review of the 2018 National Defense Strategy by a committee of prominent former policymakers warned that without 3 to 5 percent annual real budget growth, the United States faces “strategic insolvency.”3

US tech firms should wargame response if China invades Taiwan, warns NSA cybersecurity chief


Robert Joyce, director of cybersecurity at the National Security Agency (NSA), speaks during a Senate Armed Services Subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year sent American tech firms scrambling to shore up their operations, especially those with workers in danger zones. But a Chinese invasion of Taiwan would have even more chaotic consequences for which businesses should start planning today, said the National Security Agency’s director of cybersecurity, Rob Joyce.

“We had a lot of companies who had to had to endure hard decisions and take rapid action at the time of the invasion” in February 2022, Joyce said at the Center for Strategic & International Studies this morning. “Often they had people in Ukraine that were now going to be in a war zone and they had to think about getting them out. They had Russian or Ukrainian sysadmins [systems administrators], and they had to think about what privileges they wanted them to have. They had network segments in Russia or Ukraine and they had to think about whether they severed that or firewalled that. They had to think about whether they just pulled all the way out of their Russian businesses and what the implications were.”

Joyce said for all that complexity, a Chinese invasion of Taiwan would even worse, considering “how [much] more intertwined” Taiwan is with the global economy and how much more of a cyber threat China may pose compared to Russia.

“That’s a really hard problem,” he emphasized, “and you don’t want to be starting that planning the week before an invasion when you’re starting to see the White House saying it’s coming. You want to be doing that now and buying down your risk and making those decisions in advance — and it’s really hard, so tabletop it and see where your pain points are.”

What does China want in Ukraine?


Strategic clarity arises in a crisis. When the world is relatively stable, the strategic calculations of the major powers are deliberately couched and clouded. Conflicts clear our minds. The ongoing crisis in Ukraine is resulting in havoc. However, it also allows us to step back and see where everyone stands.

Over the last 13 months, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s misadventure in Ukraine has reignited the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. It was not long ago that NATO countries were squabbling among themselves. However, a common threat is a great unifier. That is exactly what Putin did. He gave NATO a new life. If Putin feared NATO’s expansion before his invasion, his actions have further accelerated the grouping’s enlargement. Once neutral, Finland and Sweden have been quick to yank off the badge of non-alignment and apply to join the alliance.
Russia and China have consistently strengthened their bilateral relationship in the last few years.

The war in Ukraine is also alarming chancelleries in Asia. Japan’s leader Fumio Kishida has warned that East Asia could be the next Ukraine. This was not the case a few years ago. Like Germany, Japan too believed that trade and commercial interdependence with Russia would mollify Moscow. When then Chancellor Angela Merkel was courting Moscow, Japan’s Shinzo Abe was engaging Putin to reach a compromise on their dispute over the four southernmost Kuril Islands in the North Pacific.

China’s President Xi Jinping’s growing ambitions in Asia and Putin’s assault on Ukraine have cleared the strategic illusion in Tokyo. Under Kishida, Japan has demonstrated considerable interest in developing sophisticated weaponry and has pledged to double its defence expenditure.

The World Bank Won’t Succeed Until the West Pulls Its Weight

Devesh Kapur

As Ajay Banga prepares to take over as president of the World Bank, there is growing tension among the bank’s members. The United States has been pressing the bank to shift its focus to lending for climate change. But developing countries, faced with mounting development challenges and the prospects of another lost economic decade, want the bank to lend more for traditional national development programs. Underlying this discord is a fundamental reality: The bank simply does not have the resources to do justice to both goals.

Can South American Lithium Power Biden’s Battery Plans?

Kathryn Ledebur

The United States needs to accelerate its energy transition—and quickly. The only problem? It needs vast quantities of raw materials to do so, and it will have to negotiate with other countries to acquire them in time.

Biden Celebrates a Northern Ireland ‘Made Whole by Peace’ as Tensions Persist

Michael D. Shear and Katie Rogers

BELFAST, Northern Ireland — President Biden on Wednesday tried to push Protestants and Catholics to resolve their differences and embrace the possibility of economic prosperity in a territory that had been “made whole by peace” since the Good Friday Agreement brought an end to decades of sectarian violence a quarter-century ago.

“Your history is our history, but more important, your future is America’s future,” Mr. Biden said during brief remarks at Ulster University, his only public appearance in Belfast before a departure to explore his Irish heritage in the Republic of Ireland.

He emphasized that Northern Ireland was poised to continue benefiting from economic transformation: “Peace and economic opportunity go together,” he said.

During his short stay in Belfast — a whirlwind stop ahead of several days of Biden family-related excursions — the president and his advisers generally tried to avoid thorny questions surrounding politics in Northern Ireland, where the legislature has been deadlocked after the Democratic Unionist Party pulled out over post-Brexit trade concerns.

He told reporters earlier in the day that he was “going to listen” during brief exchanges with leaders of the region’s five main political parties. Mr. Biden met with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of Britain before the speech.

But in his remarks at Ulster, Mr. Biden encouraged the government to overcome its divisions and work toward a power-sharing agreement “that reflects the people of Northern Ireland and is accountable to them,” adding, “That’s a judgment for you to make, not me, but I hope it happens.”

The president’s visit comes amid a flare-up of political violence that has Belfast’s police on heightened alert, but ahead of the visit, John Kirby, a White House spokesman, played down concerns about Mr. Biden’s safety while in Belfast.


Ken Klippenstein, Daniel Boguslaw

In recent months, the Pentagon has moved to provide loans, guarantees, and other financial instruments to technology companies it considers crucial to national security — a step beyond the grants and contracts it normally employs. So when Silicon Valley Bank threatened to fail in March following a bank run, the defense agency advocated for government intervention to insure the investments. The Pentagon had even scrambled to prepare multiple plans to get cash to affected companies if necessary, reporting by Defense One revealed.

Their interest in Silicon Valley Bank stems from the Pentagon’s brand-new office, the Office of Strategic Capital. According to the Wall Street Journal, the secretary of defense established the OSC in December specifically to counteract the investment power of adversaries like China in U.S. technologies, and to secure separate funding for companies whose products are considered vital to national security. It enjoys special authority to use loans and guarantees not normally available to the Defense Department to attract private investment in technology.

The full extent of OSC’s authorities has not yet been determined, as its charter is still being drafted, an OSC official not authorized to speak publicly told The Intercept. OSC’s website identifies its mission as twofold: first, identifying critical technology areas, and second, funding those investments using investment tools. “These financial tools are new to the Department and will be complementary to ongoing technology innovation efforts,” the agency’s mission states.

Logistics Wins Wars: A Deep Dive Into War In The Pacific

John Konrad

This week, the United States Marine Corps Commandant made a bold and urgent call to prioritize logistics at sea in the Pacific theater. However, it’s concerning that the rest of the US Military has placed an unreasonable emphasis on air logistics while neglecting the now skeletal remains of the US Merchant Marine. It’s time for a realistic assessment of our current logistics capabilities in the Pacific and to explore new opportunities. This article takes a full and unvarnished look at military logistics and highlights ways the US Secretary of Defense and US Secretary of Transportation can take immediate action to strengthen seaborne logistical capabilities in the Pacific.

“Infantry wins battles, logistics wins wars.” Army General John J. Pershing,

by Captain John Konrad (gCaptain) Last year, in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, the People’s Liberation Army Navy conducted a large-scale exercise demonstrating their plans to use fast civilian ferries for an invasion of Taiwan. In light of this potential threat, it’s crucial for the US Navy to leverage insights from Ukraine and the Marine Corps’ Force Design 2030 to develop a cost-effective, yet highly capable ship that can aid allied forces in times of need. With the right approach, the US Navy can create a ship that combines the advantages of fast civilian ferries with the lessons learned from past conflicts to ensure national security and safeguard global stability but there are a lot of complexities surrounding the problem so we need to take a deep dive into the subject of sealift and war.

Don’t be caught off guard – join us as we delve into the importance of logistics and innovation in shipbuilding for national security and global stability. The future of shipping – and the billions of lives the shipping industry touches – could depend on it.
The US Military Loves RoRos

The true war of attrition begins Meduza sums up what happened on the battlefield in 2022 — and what it portends for the year ahead

Late in 2022, the war in Ukraine reached a new turning point. Russia conducted its “first wave” of mobilization and partially eliminated the personnel deficit that contributed to its numerous military defeats in the fall. Now, the Russian army might face a shortage of a different resource: artillery ammunition. Meanwhile, Ukraine is experiencing a shell shortage of its own. Overcoming the deficiency won’t be easy: the West, which is assisting Ukraine with supplies, has largely exhausted its available stockpiles. It is against this backdrop that Russia and Ukraine are fighting a protracted artillery battle around the cities of Soledar and Bakhmut, which is rapidly eating away at the remaining ammunition on both sides. Increasingly, it seems the true “war of attrition” — as many began referring to the war in Ukraine almost as soon as its hot stage began — will take place in 2023. The outcome of this stage will hinge primarily on which side is better able to adapt to its worsening ammunition shortage.
In this article, our editors attempt to assess the military situation in Ukraine based on the available data. Meduza opposes the war and demands the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine.

What was the condition of the Russian and Ukrainian armies at the start of the February 2022 invasion?

The Russian army

In February, Russian military commanders planned to mount a quick victory by launching a decisive operation and advancing its troops at a record pace. In the first days of the full-scale invasion, the Russian army captured a significant amount of Ukrainian territory, taking advantage of the fact that the Ukrainian military hadn’t yet had time to deploy and wasn’t ready to mount a full defense anywhere outside the Donbas.

Just a few weeks later, however, as Ukrainian units arrived at the fronts that had by then formed, the Russian army suffered a major defeat: it completely withdrew from Ukraine’s north (with the exception of the Kharkiv area, which was significant for its subsequent offensive in the Donbas) and retreated south — to 50 kilometers (about 30 miles) outside of Kherson to prevent the city and surrounding bridges from falling within range of Ukrainian artillery.

The Mysteries of the Biggest Intel Leak in a Decade


When it comes to leaks of classified government documents, the way they are disseminated is often as telling as the actual information they contain. In 2010, U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning handed over thousands of military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks, a website with a reputation for publishing sensitive materials. Three years later, Edward Snowden leaked thousands of classified documents he had gathered as a National Security Agency contractor to select publications.

But the recent leak of more than 100 pages of classified U.S. intelligence documents, which could be the most damaging disclosure of U.S. government documents in a decade, has baffled current and former officials and security analysts. The documents, some of which are marked “Top Secret” and normally accessible only to officials with the highest level of security clearance, surfaced in early March on Discord chat servers dedicated to the popular game Minecraft and fans of a Filipino YouTube star. There they sat for a month, only breaking through to the public—and, it appears, U.S. military officials—when they were posted on a pro-Russia Telegram channel and the far-right imageboard 4chan and made their way to Twitter.

Those aren’t the only odd aspects of the documents’ emergence. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was first briefed on the leaks on April 6, the Pentagon said Monday, the same day their existence was first reported by the New York Times and a day after screenshots of the documents began circulating on mainstream social platforms. The documents, some of which TIME reviewed but could not authenticate, appear to be hastily folded and smoothed-out sheets of paper that were sloppily photographed instead of scanned. Online sleuths have apparently pieced together some of the items in the background—American hunting magazines, a bottle of Gorilla glue, a nail clipper.

Should We Research Geoengineering?


MELBOURNE – As our planet’s climate heats up, so, too, does the debate about the boldest response to it: geoengineering, or the deliberate modification of the atmosphere to combat global warming. In 2010, when Ken Caldeira and David Keith published “The Need for Climate Engineering Research,” geoengineering had virtually no support. That is no longer the case.

Early critics like Clive Hamilton dismissed geoengineering as “playing god” – an objection that misfires when addressed to those who do not believe that a divine being is safeguarding the fate of the planet. A more secular version of the objection might state that we should leave nature alone, but that battle was lost decades ago. We humans have already overwhelmed nature, to such an extent that many scientists suggest that we are now in a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene.

Now geoengineering is back on the agenda. In 2020, the US Congress directed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to develop a multi-year research initiative to investigate both natural and human activities that might alter the reflectivity of the stratosphere and how those activities could affect our planet. In 2020, NOAA began offering funding for such projects. Meanwhile, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommended spending $200 million on a research program to see whether there is a safe way to cool the planet.

When Caldeira and Keith wrote about engineering the climate, several approaches were mooted, such as adding soluble iron to the ocean to increase the growth of phytoplankton, which would absorb and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Research failed to validate that approach, however, and current research is focused on solar radiation modification (SRM), also known as solar radiation management, which aims to reflect a small part of the solar radiation that warms the surface of the Earth.

How The War In Ukraine Is Shaking Up The Global Arms Industry – OpEd

John P. Ruehl

The struggles of Russian weapons manufacturers have added to historic shifts in the global arms market.

On March 21, 2023, India’s air force confirmed that a major Russian arms delivery would not occur, citing Russia’s logistical challenges stemming from its war in Ukraine. It has served as the latest example of Russia’s inability to complete weapons deals with India since the conflict began in February 2022.

India is the world’s largest arms importer, and as the country’s largest supplier, Russia plays an outsized role in India’s defense. But Russia’s ongoing military challenges in Ukraine will naturally increase India’s pushto develop homegrown defense alternatives and diversify foreign suppliers.

Strong growth in Russian defense spending since the start of the war indicates that the country’s domestic weapons manufacturers can rely on stable demand from the Russian state. But sanctions have meant they are already having difficulty completing these orders, and risk losing further international market share as their products increasingly flow to the Russian military.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) estimates that six countries—the U.S., Russia, France, China, Germany, and Italy—were responsible for 80 percent of global weapons exports from 2018 to 2022. The U.S. alone counted for 40 percent, while Russia was a distant second at 16 percent.

It is difficult to place an exact value on the global arms industry. What exactly constitutes “arms” is debated, while the same products can be sold for different prices. Weapons may also be shipped discreetly or on the black market. Nonetheless, SIPRI uses a “trend-indicator value” that allocates a specific value to individual weapons or weapons systems based on their capabilities.

Krugman Reminds Us That Protectionism For Bankers Is A Very Powerful Political Force – OpEd

Dean Baker

That was really a sidebar in his piece ridiculing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s attack on “woke” money, but it is worth taking a second to appreciate how protecting the rich is so completely the accepted norm in American politics. The piece is directed against DeSantis’s bizarre attack on the idea of a digital currency issued by the Federal Reserve Board.

It’s not clear whether DeSantis has any real concern or is just trying to convince the MAGA crowd that he can be every bit as crazy as their hero Trump, in spite of his Harvard Law degree. However, insofar as there is some discernible issue that is bothering DeSantis, it seems to be that a Fed digital currency may make it more difficult to evade taxes and commit other crimes. So much for “LAW AND ORDER!”

But the part of Krugman’s piece that really needs more attention is his comment in passing on how banks would respond to the prospect of a digital currency from the Fed. The basic story of a digital currency is a simple one. We could all be given transaction accounts at the Fed, from which we could conduct our ordinary business, like paying bills and getting our paychecks, at near zero cost.

This would mean tens of billions in savings annually on bank fees and penalties. It would be an especially big deal for lower income households, who disproportionately pay these fees and often don’t have bank accounts at all.

Krugman comments:

“What it [the Federal Reserve Act] doesn’t say is that any attempt to create such accounts would provoke a firestorm of opposition from the banking industry, which doesn’t want to have to compete for customers with a basically infallible government bank. So if a digital currency were to be created, it would be run through private-sector intermediaries.”

Key Clues in Search for Source of Pentagon Leak


The Pentagon and Department of Justice are investigating how classified documents were shared online and who was behind the leak.

Investigators are likely examining the Discord platform where the documents may have been first shared.

Cybersecurity experts say investigators will be looking closely at IP addresses, but human error could be a deciding factor in the probe.

The Justice Department has opened an investigation into the classified Pentagon documents that were recently leaked online, and cybersecurity experts who spoke with Newsweek said there are some critical clues investigators will be examining.

The highly classified documents from the Pentagon spread across social media last week. They contain photos of materials with details about U.S. intelligence updates, including sensitive information about the war in Ukraine. On Monday, Pentagon spokesperson Christopher Meagher told reporters that Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III had been holding department-wide meetings about the leak. Meagher also shared that the Pentagon is leading another investigation.

"We're still investigating how this happened, as well as the scope of the issue. There have been steps to take a closer look at how this type of information is distributed and to whom," 

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin listens during the Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Defense at the U.S. Capitol on May 3, 2022, in Washington, D.C. The Defense Department and the Department of Justice are investigating who leaked classified Pentagon papers online.AMANDA ANDRADE-RHOADES/GETTY

Special report: How U.S.-made chips are flowing into Russia

TOKYO/HONG KONG/TAIPEI -- More than a year since the start of the Ukraine war, hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of U.S.-made semiconductors are flowing into Russia despite Washington's sanctions on the country, a Nikkei investigation has found.

Washington banned the export of American semiconductors to Russia, except for humanitarian purposes and other special exceptions, on Feb. 24, 2022, immediately after Russia invaded its neighbor. The move was aimed at weakening Moscow's ability to wage war by cutting off its access to semiconductors -- chips are vital components in missiles, tanks, drones and military aircraft for functions including guidance systems, radar and nighttime image sensing, and U.S. manufacturers command a large share of the market for high-performance products.

But Russia has continued to acquire chips through circuitous routes, with a large portion flowing through small traders in Hong Kong and mainland China.

To uncover these routes, Nikkei obtained Russian customs data from Export Genius, an Indian research company, and examined semiconductor import records from Feb. 24 to Dec. 31, 2022.

The records showed 3,292 transactions worth at least $100,000 each, and 2,358 of them -- about 70% -- were labeled as products of U.S. chipmakers such as Intel, Advanced Micro Devices, Texas Instruments and many others. The total value of these transactions was at least $740 million.

Of those transactions, 1,774 -- about 75% -- were shipped from Hong Kong or mainland China, and many of the shippers were small or midsize companies, some of which were established after the Ukraine invasion. The value of those transactions was $570 million.

Crimea Has Become a Frankenstein’s Monster

Anatol Lieven

Clear differences are emerging within the Ukrainian government as to whether Ukraine should make the reconquest of Crimea a nonnegotiable goal of its war effort or be prepared to trade at least provisional Russian control of the peninsula for Russian concessions elsewhere. This issue also has the potential to create a deep split between Kyiv and Western governments, which fear that Crimea and control of the strategically vital military base of Sevastopol might be the point on which Moscow would be willing to escalate toward nuclear war. The question is becoming more urgent as Ukraine prepares for an offensive that could potentially allow it to cut the land route between Russia and Crimea.

The Mysteries of the Biggest Intel Leak in a Decade


When it comes to leaks of classified government documents, the way they are disseminated is often as telling as the actual information they contain. In 2010, U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning handed over thousands of military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks, a website with a reputation for publishing sensitive materials. Three years later, Edward Snowden leaked thousands of classified documents he had gathered as a National Security Agency contractor to select publications.

But the recent leak of more than 100 pages of classified U.S. intelligence documents, which could be the most damaging disclosure of U.S. government documents in a decade, has baffled current and former officials and security analysts. The documents, some of which are marked “Top Secret” and normally accessible only to officials with the highest level of security clearance, surfaced in early March on Discord chat servers dedicated to the popular game Minecraft and fans of a Filipino YouTube star. There they sat for a month, only breaking through to the public—and, it appears, U.S. military officials—when they were posted on a pro-Russia Telegram channel and the far-right imageboard 4chan and made their way to Twitter.

Those aren’t the only odd aspects of the documents’ emergence. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was first briefed on the leaks on April 6, the Pentagon said Monday, the same day their existence was first reported by the New York Times and a day after screenshots of the documents began circulating on mainstream social platforms. The documents, some of which TIME reviewed but could not authenticate, appear to be hastily folded and smoothed-out sheets of paper that were sloppily photographed instead of scanned. Online sleuths have apparently pieced together some of the items in the background—American hunting magazines, a bottle of Gorilla glue, a nail clipper.

None of this is typical for an intelligence leak of this magnitude, with assessments of the war in Ukraine and sensitive briefings on other countries. “The way that it was disseminated, that it was put on some website and not quietly or secretly given to an agent…it was done in the full open, so anyone could see it,” says Evelyn Farkas, the top Pentagon official for Russia and Ukraine during the Obama Administration. “It was almost daring people to notice it.”

U.S. General: Russia Jamming American GPS Satellite Signals Used By Ukraine

Jen Snow

According to a top general in the U.S. Space Force, Russia has taken to using space weapons in its war against Ukraine. Russian forces have been jamming GPS signals from American satellites that are used by Ukrainian troops.

Despite jamming signals from the satellites, Moscow has not yet attempted to destroy any of them, and one expert believes it's because Russia's space capabilities are not yet completely developed and would not survive a conflict with a major world power.

Gen. B. Chance Saltzman, Chief of Space Operations for the U.S. Space Force, has confirmed that Russia has Earth-based lasers capable of attacking satellites along with electronic jamming equipment and anti-satellite missiles.

"They have shown no qualms about testing these systems," Saltzman said on April 5 during a forum on space defense that was held by the Mitchell Institute of Aerospace Studies.

"And they have every intention of using counter-space weapons in conflict, as we see in the war in Ukraine. We've seen cyberattacks against satellite internet providers as well as persistent SATCOM and GPS jamming," Saltzman added.

Russian forces have targeted the Space Force's Navstar GPS system, which is also utilized by several other countries.

"Space is... undeniably a contested warfighting domain," Saltzman noted.

The Space Force has been aware of Russia's jamming signals since at least April 2022. Space Force Gen. David Thompson stated in an interview, "Ukraine may not be able to use GPS because there are jammers around that prevent them from receiving any usable signal."

Could Putin's "Escalate to Win" Nuclear Threat Strategy Work?


By Peter Huessy, Warrior Maven Senior Nuclear Weapons Analyst, Senior Fellow Warrior Maven, Atlantic Council, Hudson Institute -- President of Geo-Strategic Analysis

(Washington D.C.) The war against Ukraine initiated by Russian aggression 13 months ago has been accompanied by multiple threats from the Russian leadership, including President Putin, to initiate the use of nuclear weapons against the United States, NATO or Ukraine itself, threats that are linked to NATO support to Ukraine of military hardware.

The threats from Russia are taken as serious given Moscow’s adoption of a strategy often referred to as “escalate to win” where Russia decides to use limited nuclear weapons, probably of the theater or tactical type, in the Ukraine region to counter a losing conventional fight and achieve some kind of “victory” usually not clearly delineated. Thus, NATO has decided to split the difference: arm Ukraine with weapons but not involve NATO forces.
Russia, China & Ukraine

But there is a larger strategy at play and it involves both Russia and China.

First, irrespective of the outcome of the war against Ukraine, Moscow’s current gambit is to eventually secure the US withdrawal of theater nuclear weapons from a number of NATO nations where American fighter planes are armed with what are a couple of hundred nuclear gravity bombs.

Second, Putin’s ruse is to claim the moral high-ground by declaring that all Russian theater nuclear weapons are on Russian soil, unlike similar US nuclear weapons, not withstanding the fact that at a minimum Russian theater nuclear forces outnumber those of the United States by at least 10 to 1 or as much as 25 to 1.

Third, having a monopoly of theater nuclear forces in the European theater is Moscow’s objective, which would seriously tear apart of the fabric of the US extended deterrent or nuclear umbrella over our non-nuclear NATO allies. For its part, the US has never adopted a no-first use pledge but which some in Europe might believe was US policy by default if the US withdrew our theater nuclear forces from Europe. Even though it has also been long-standing US extended deterrent policy that our central strategic nuclear forces are a critical part of extended deterrence not only in the European theater but also in the Middle East and Western Pacific.

The American Crisis Intensifies

George Friedman

As I ooze back to consciousness after COVID-19 had me in its grip for the past few weeks, it has occurred to me that the real story unfolding in the world is in the United States. China and Russia matter a great deal, as do other countries. But none of them pivot the world. The United States has the largest economy, as well as the most powerful military force, including its navy. The U.S. remains a leading innovator in technology.

This is why the United States is a decisive power, but also a dangerous one. The concentration of power and capabilities, and the degree to which they are globally interconnected, means that an American failure would likely have disastrous consequences globally.

This is not a new global vulnerability, but it now coincides with the systemic crisis that the U.S. faces, as I laid out in my book “The Storm Before the Calm.” That book predicted a social crisis early in this decade, followed by a massive economic crisis. Along with that, there would emerge a political crisis and a major, once-in-every-80-years institutional crisis in the federal government. Finally, it predicted a profound change in government near the end of the decade, driven by political and economic forces.

Looking at history, what is striking is that in previous cycles, the social issues tended to subside a bit before terminal economic issues took over. In 1980, as economic issues dominated, the intense social issues of race and sexual culture in the 1970s had subsided somewhat. In 1932, the social aspects faded with the death of Huey Long and the onset of the Great Depression. The strength of the Ku Klux Klan subsided, and social issues linked to immigration gave way to economic concerns.

The intensity of the ongoing social issues is striking. Issues that are moral, religious and cultural are still tearing at the American system. Bank failures, and the reality that caused them, are compounding instead of overtaking these old events. Significantly complicating the situation is the 80-year institutional cycle. The synchronization of the end of this cycle and the socio-economic cycle is a first in U.S. history. Questions about the relationship between federal institutions like the Supreme Court and Congress compound the normal distrust between the public and institutions.

Putin’s Descent Into Stalinism

Leon Aron

Late last month, a Russian man who’s the single father of a 13-year-old girl was sentenced to two years in prison for “discrediting the Russian armed forces.” Aleksei Moskalyov’s conviction was for social media posts he had written, but his ordeal had begun nearly a year before as the result of drawing his daughter made. In early March, the daughter, Masha, had been taken by police to an orphanage and banned from communicating with her father. (Masha has recently been handed over to her mother, from whom she’s been estranged for seven years.)

Masha Moskalyova’s crime? Drawing a picture in sixth-grade art class of a mother and a child next to a Ukrainian flag. In the drawing Masha wrote, “I AM AGAINST THE WAR!” She also drew “Glory to Ukraine” on the Ukrainian flag with missiles flying from the Russian tricolor side with “No to the War” penciled on the flag.

This is not the first time Masha has been detained. Last year she was taken from school to a local office of the Federal Security Service, and this past January she spent almost two weeks in an orphanage.

Masha is not alone. The police have also harassed the family of a 12-year-old named Kirill, a sixth-grader who asked in class, “Why did Putin begin the “special operation” in Ukraine?” and cried “Glory to Ukraine!” in a school hallway. Two days later the police came to Kirill’s apartment. Home alone, the boy would not open the door. The police cut off electricity and left a note threatening to “deliver him by force” to the station.

Navigating the New Age of Great-Power Competition

Bilahari Kausikan

Russian aggression in Ukraine and competition between China and the United States have made the world more uncertain and dangerous. The Ukraine war is likely to be prolonged, and the U.S.-Chinese rivalry seems set to become the defining feature of international relations in the twenty-first century. Policymakers and analysts worry that the future will be riven with divisions, with countries separated into hostile, competitive blocs and geopolitics becoming a zero-sum game.

But as officials around the world grapple with these complex developments, it is crucial that they keep them in proper perspective. States have competed as long as there have been states. They have collaborated, too, but the harsh reality is that competition all too often turns into conflict. The last century was punctuated by periodic spasms of major interstate violence: World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, several wars between Israel and Arab states, China’s invasions of India and Vietnam, and numerous wars in the global South. During the Cold War, the risk of nuclear destruction made direct confrontation between Moscow and Washington too dangerous, but their rivalry sparked many hot conflicts in proxy wars around the world. Even the so-called unipolar moment, when the United States reigned supreme, was not free of conflict; vicious genocidal wars erupted in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, and the United States invaded Iraq and Afghanistan.

The dangers of these times are real but hardly novel. Arguably, the world is returning to its natural state. The war in Ukraine and U.S.-Chinese rivalry conform to established patterns of state behavior. The uncertainties and risks they pose—the possibility of accidents getting out of hand and nuclear escalation, among others—are what U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld termed “known unknowns.” Most countries successfully navigated previous phases of great-power competition, and many of them even grew and prospered under those harsh conditions. If they remain calm and exercise reasonable prudence, there is no reason they cannot do so again.

Kill the Chatbots?


While it is understandable that a new technology with seemingly vast powers would raise concerns, much of the handwringing over large-language-model chatbots is misplaced. The right response to economic disruption is not to stop the clock, but to try to maximize the gains and minimize the pain.

WASHINGTON, DC – The world has been dazzled by sudden major advances in artificial intelligence. But now some prominent and well-placed people are responding with misguided demands to pull the emergency brake.

An open letter calling “on all AI labs to immediately pause for at least six months the training of AI systems” has received thousands of signatures, including those of tech icons like Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak, many CEOs, and prominent scholars. Geoffrey Hinton, one of the pioneers of the “deep learning” methods behind the recent advances, was recently asked by CBS News about AI “wiping out humanity.” And, as always, many commentators fear that AI will eliminate the need for human workers. A 2022 Ipsos survey finds that only around one-third of Americans think that AI-based products and services offer more benefits than drawbacks.

Those calling for a pause emphasize that “generative AI” is different from anything that has come before. OpenAI’s ChatGPT is so advanced that it can convincingly converse with a human, draft essays better than many undergraduates, and write and debug computer code. The Financial Times recently found that ChatGPT (along with Bard, Google’s own experimental chatbot) can tell a joke at least passably well, write an advertising slogan, make stock picks, and imagine a conversation between Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin.

It is understandable that a new technology with such seemingly vast powers would raise concerns. But much of the distress is misplaced. AI’s current detractors tend to understate the pace of technological change that advanced economies have already been living through. In 1970, US employment was roughly evenly divided across occupations, with low-skill, medium-skill, and high-skill jobs accounting for, respectively, 31%, 38%, and 30% of total hours worked. A half-century later, middle-skill employment has fallen by an astonishing 15 percentage points.

Addressing the Security Risks of AI

Jim Dempsey

In recent weeks, there have been urgent warnings about the risks of rapid developments in artificial intelligence (AI). The current obsession is with large language models (LLMs) such as GPT-4, the generative AI system that Microsoft has incorporated into its Bing search engine. However, despite all the concerns about LLMs hallucinating and trying to break up marriages (the former quite real, the latter more on the amusing side), little has been written lately about the vulnerability of many AI-based systems to adversarial attack. A new Stanford and Georgetown report offers stark reminders that the security risks for AI-based systems are real. Moreover, the report—which I signed, along with 16 others from policy research, law, industry, and government—recommends immediately achievable actions that developers and policymakers can take to address the issue.

The report starts from the premise that AI systems, especially those based on the techniques of machine learning, are remarkably vulnerable to a range of attacks. My Stanford colleague Andy Grotto and I wrote about this in 2021. Drawing on the research of others, we outlined how evasion, data poisoning, and exploitation of traditional software flaws could deceive, manipulate, and compromise AI systems, to the point of rendering them ineffective. We were by no means the first to sound the alarm: Technologists in 2018 surveyed the landscape of potential security threats from malicious uses of AI, and Andrew Lohn at Georgetown warned in 2020 that machine learning’s vulnerabilities are pervasive.

Most of that work cited academic studies, as opposed to attacks in the wild. So when Stanford and Georgetown convened a group of experts last summer for a workshop that informed our new report, I specifically asked if there was any doubt that real-world implementations of AI were vulnerable to malicious compromise. Or was this merely a theoretical concern? Uniformly, participants from industry and government—those developing and using AI—agreed that the problem was real. Some pointed out that there are so many vulnerabilities in digital systems that the AI in those systems is not yet an attack vector of choice, but all agreed that, with the continued incorporation of AI models into a wider range of use cases, the frequency of deep learning-based attacks will grow. Moreover, all agreed the time to begin addressing the problem is now, as new systems are being designed and new deployments are occurring. (It actually would have been better to start years ago, before AI technologies had begun to be deployed in a wide range of commercial and government contexts, but now is second best.)

How AI Will Revolutionize Warfare

Michael Hirsh

When it comes to advanced artificial intelligence, much of the debate has focused on whether white-collar workers are now facing the sort of extinction-level threat that the working class once did with robotics. And while it’s suddenly likely that AI will be capable of duplicating a good part of what lawyers, accountants, teachers, programmers, and—yes—journalists do, that’s not even where the most significant revolution is likely to occur.

NSA: ChatGPT and similar tech will make hackers more effective


Generative AI technologies will boost hackers’ ability to trick people, according to a top National Security Agency official.

Generative artificial intelligence has made headlines recently with the emergence of OpenAI’s ChatGPT technology and other capabilities that can generate new content, such as text or images, based on their training using large language models or other tools.

During an event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Tuesday, NSA cybersecurity director Rob Joyce was asked if technology like ChatGPT will help hackers create more effective phishing messages.

“I absolutely believe that,” Joyce said. “People have gone across the scale of, you know, how worried should they be about ChatGPT? I will tell you the technology’s impressive, right. It is really sophisticated. Is it going to, in the next year, automate all of the attacks on organizations? Can you give it a piece of software and find tell it to find all the zero-day exploits for it? No. But what it will do is it’s going to optimize the workflow. It’s going to really improve the ability for malicious actors who use those tools to be better or faster.”

“And in the case of the malicious foreign actors, it will craft very believable native language, English text that could be part of your phishing campaign or your interaction with a person or your ability to build a backstory — all the things that will allow you to do those activities or even malign influence, right. That’s going to be a problem. So, is it going to replace hackers and be this super AI hacking [tool]? Certainly not in the near term, but it will make the hackers that use AI much more effective, and they will operate better than those who don’t,” he added.

There’s also a risk that foreign competitors might also try to steal the intellectual property behind some of these generative AI technologies.

Bad Idea: National Security Strategy Documents

Benjamin H. Friedman

Creating a national security strategy is not a bad idea. Governments inevitably guide spending and coordinate relevant agencies according to some overarching theory of how they will achieve security. The resulting security strategy can be good or bad, effective or weak, but it is immutable.

The directive contained in the 1986 Goldwater Nichols Act mandating the U.S. executive branch produce a national security strategy document was also not a bad idea. The aim to “set forth” a strategy to guide the defense budget, articulate the nation’s interests and commitments, and evaluate its capabilities to meet them was a sensible part of a bill meant to harmonize the sprawling national security apparatus.

What is a bad idea is mandating regular national security strategy documents (including the National Security Strategy (NSS), National Defense Strategy (NDS) and Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR)) when they have so manifestly failed. Not only have strategy documents failed to meaningfully coordinate policy within the bureaucracy, the doctrines and theories they put forth do not meet the modern definition of security strategy: put simply, the alignment of military means to ends and, hence, the prioritization of scarce resources. Moreover, the documents tend to inflate threats to the country in order to justify various operations and missions they promote. While the national security apparatus should continue to craft strategy to align objectives and resources, strategy documents are, in short, a ponderous waste of time for readers and especially authors that should be put to a merciful end.

The 2022 NSS and NDS are not exceptions to these failings. The Biden administration’s NSS avoids prioritizing among threats and the means to confront them. It is essentially list of mostly well-intentioned goals without the difficult choices that effective policymaking requires—like a signpost pointing in all directions. A partial list of what security requires, according to the document, is improving democracy and faster innovation at home, confronting Russia, containing China, creating new global and regional institutions to organize democracies, winning the support of the Global South in the global competition with autocracies, maintaining a nuclear triad, preventing nuclear proliferation, stopping pandemics, and suppressing corruption.

A Conversation on Cybersecurity with NSA’s Rob Joyce

James A. Lewis: We’re all set? Great. Thanks to everyone who came to CSIS. Thanks to the audience online for coming to listen to Rob Joyce. We were lucky to get Rob, thank you for making the time to come here. He’s coming from a bigger venue, so this is a little more – little cozier.

But we’re going to talk about any number of things, but I’m going to start by asking about NSA’s sort of new posture, when it comes to cybersecurity, which I think is really interesting. And we will have time for audience questions. If you’re online, I think there's a button that you can submit a question on. If you’re in the room and you want to raise a question, raise your hand, and we’ll give you a card. We do filter the questions, so.

Oh, and I have a – if you’re doing it in the card, please write legibly. I can’t read anymore, so. (Laughter.) It’s not clear I could ever read, but if I mangle your question, it’s your fault. (Laughter.)

But with that, Rob, how long have you been at NSA?

Rob Joyce: So, first, Jim, thanks for hosting us here. Appreciate it.

Thirty four years.

Dr. Lewis: Wow.

Mr. Joyce: So I came straight out of college and –

Dr. Lewis: A lifer.

Mr. Joyce: – have been a lifer, and that’s not unusual for NSA. You know, the mission is spectacular. The ability to just work with really smart people, and work on hard, meaningful problems keeps people there, so it’s great.

Dr. Lewis: Did you see an uptick in recruitment with the downturn in the tech sector? I know there was some hope of that.

Mr. Joyce: We’ve gotten some uptick. What I would say is, we got some people of an experience level we didn’t often see. So we’re seeing mid-career people looking to come to, one, the stability, but two, also the opportunity to come into the intel community.

Dr. Lewis: Mmm hmm. That’s great.