12 July 2023

The Geopolitics of the Semiconductor Industry and India’s Place in It


For some time now, it has been almost conventional wisdom that states that trade with each other have less of an incentive to act with hostility toward each other. It was believed that economic interdependence would help prevent aggression.1 This argument is being severely tested when it comes to relations between China and the United States. While the prospect of any military conflict between them is low, there has been an undeniable surge in tension in their trade relationship.

Rising tensions have set China and the United States on a gradual economic decoupling. The technology export-control measures that were unveiled by former U.S. president Donald Trump’s administration in May 2019 and May 2020 have not been rolled back by the subsequent Joe Biden administration, and they have set both countries striving for self-sufficiency. Nowhere is this more evident than in the semiconductor industry.

The last few years have seen a pressing shortage of semiconductors, which matters greatly since the industries of the future will be heavily reliant on chips. Semiconductors will be critical to the foundational technologies of artificial intelligence (AI), 3D printing, the Internet of Things, and advanced robotics, and any shortage in them will hurt not only the economic prospects of technology companies but also of countries that hope to deploy such technology. Semiconductors have long been critical to the functioning of various industries, ranging from aerospace to automobiles. An estimate put the number of industries impacted by the recent global semiconductor shortage at 169.2

The shortage can be ascribed to various reasons. First, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic led to most semiconductor foundries redirecting their supply to industries that saw an increase in demand for their products. Bringing back this supply to where it was at the start of the pandemic has been very challenging. Second, a series of disasters ranging from fires to earthquakes and droughts affected key supply-chain hubs and further exacerbated the shortage.3 Third, Moore’s Law, according to which the number of transistors in integrated circuits doubles roughly every two years, is now seen as taking longer to play out and even as possibly having become obsolete.4 Last, and most significantly, export-control measures were initiated by the Trump administration in 2019 to prohibit the supply of certain semiconductor technologies to proscribed Chinese entities, and these measures were further tightened in 2020. However, before the export-control measures took effect, Chinese entities stockpiled a massive number of semiconductor technologies and machinery, worsening the shortage.

India’s Statistical System: Past, Present, Future


The statistical system of a country acts as its mirror. It generates the statistics that allow observers to see how well a country is performing on key socioeconomic parameters such as per capita income, inflation, poverty, life expectancy, and average years of schooling. In most countries, a single agency or a handful of agencies produce the bulk of official statistics. The work of these and other peripheral agencies is typically regulated by a national statistical office that ensures statistical standards are in line with international norms. The statistical system provides citizens an impartial view of the state of their country’s progress. It enables policymakers and investors to make informed decisions.

India’s official statistical system, as we know it today, began taking shape during the British Raj (1858–1947). Colonial efforts to develop the statistical system were driven by an imperative to track a key market for English products; hence, trade statistics were much more well-developed compared to statistics on domestic economic production or socioeconomic development. Several official committees suggested reforms to correct the lopsided development of the official statistical system in British India, but most of their recommendations weren’t implemented.

It was only after India’s independence in 1947 that a serious effort was made to revamp India’s statistical infrastructure. The globally renowned statistician P. C. Mahalanobis led this drive and was backed by Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister. The Mahalanobis model of data collection relied largely on random sampling and inspired similar initiatives elsewhere in the developing world.

With Mahalanobis’s death in 1972, India’s statistical system lost a powerful champion who had ensured its relevance without compromising its autonomy. Other changes in the post-Mahalanobis era diminished the statistical system. Growing insularity, the lack of investments in computing resources, and the declining influence of the Planning Commission (which had earlier been a pillar of support for statisticians) eroded the statistical system’s effectiveness over time.

India Is Becoming a Power in Southeast Asia

Derek Grossman

The moment has been long in coming, but India is turning into a strategic actor in Southeast Asia. Amid a flurry of regional diplomacy, India has sealed an arms deal with Vietnam, sided with the Philippines over China on sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea, and enhanced defense cooperation with Indonesia. It is balance-of-power politics worthy of an international relations textbook: Even though most Southeast Asian governments have long made it their mantra not to choose geopolitical sides, China’s aggressive posture in and around the South China Sea is driving India and its partners in the region together. As yet, none of these relationships are on the level of alliances or include a serious force deployment component, but the trend is clear. And even though the United States and its Asian treaty allies are not involved, India’s moves raise the tantalizing possibility that it will increasingly complement the United States’ Indo-Pacific strategy to counter China in the coming years.

China's response to the US tech war

Yang Jiang

China is two generations behind in chips technology, and US restrictions on advanced semiconductor technology export and its success to make Japan and the Netherlands follow suit are destructive to China’s development of advanced equipment and weapons.

US sanctions could inadvertently accelerate China’s catching up, as China has realised that the detours of contingency responses are closing and that it’s important to integrate domestic basic research and market forces for technological breakthrough.

European and Asian countries should negotiate their interests with both China and the US, inspect the concept of economic security, and examine the safety and efficiency of their supply chains.

In the US-China rivalry, no battle is currently more fierce than the one over technology, with both countries ramping up efforts to pursue global technological leadership. The tech war has intensified under President Joe Biden, with the US’s strangling of China’s technological bottleneck getting tighter and tighter. The US’s stated aims are protecting its national security and foreign policy interests and preventing sensitive technologies with military applications from being acquired by China.

Some analysts point to Beijing’s Made in China 2025 as the trigger of the tech war because that is China’s plan to upgrade manufacturing and seek the top positions in global value chains. The US is pursuing a strategy to outcompete and outmanoeuvre China, as is stated in the Biden administration’s National Security Strategy in October 2022: “this decade will be decisive, in setting the terms of our [the US’s] competition with the PRC”.

As China ramps up military activity, Pentagon looks to accelerate networked warfare tech and exercises


JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii—The Pentagon is accelerating the development of new breakthrough technologies and ramping up exercises with regional partners as it prepares for an anticipated increase in aggressive military activity from China in the South China Sea.

The moves are designed to deter a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, which many experts believe is coming by 2027.

“Up until about maybe a year and a half ago, we never had a routine, consistent presence of the [Chinese] navy east of Taiwan. Now, they're there all the time,” one senior defense official told Defense One. Those sorts of stunts from China aren’t just to show force, the official said, but also an effort to exhaust Taiwanese defense capabilities and ability to respond.

“It's just wearing out Taiwan's air force for the air stuff and the navy for all of this contiguous presence, because you can't really let it go unchallenged,” the U.S official said. “The Chinese have a lot more airplanes and a lot more capability to fly all the time. It's just running the poor Taiwanese air force into the ground.”

China’s steadily increasing military maneuvers around Taiwan are, in part, a response to increased U.S. political interaction with Taiwan, including then-U.S. House speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s, D-Calif., visit to Taipei in August 2022 and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s meeting with current U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in April.

“Between the beginning of August and the end of the year, I want to say that we're at about 200 centerline crossings,” or instances where Chinese vessels crossed into Taiwanese waters, the senior U.S. official said. “So a clear and deliberate escalation…as a signaling tool.”

The official expressed concern that China may attempt another bullying naval maneuver around Taiwan later this summer, in response to continued outreach to Taiwan from U.S. lawmakers.

China announces land link with Taliban-controlled Afghanistan

Zhao Ziwen

The 3,125km (1,940 miles) route uses both railways and roads and passes through Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan as well.

One of the main businesses involved in the route said it hopes to normalise express links between the two countries, although analysts have said the main significance is symbolic rather than practical because air and sea links are still more important.

The route starts with a railway line between Lanzhou, a major road transport hub in the northwestern province of Gansu, to Kashgar in Xinjiang on the border with Kyrgzstan.

The route then continues by road to Kyrgyzstan, travelling to the border with Uzbekistan, where it switches back to rail until it reaches the Afghan border town of Hairatan.

The first train to leave Lanzhou was carrying US$1.5 million of freight, including car parts, furniture, machinery and equipment from Gansu province and other places, according to state news agency Xinhua.

“We hope to normalise the route for Sino-Afghanistan express service and aim to run four times a month,” Li Wei, a marketing manager from New Land-Sea Corridor Operation Co, one of the main firms involved in the shipment, told Xinhua.

But one observer said the route’s main importance is symbolic as China seeks to increase communications with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

“Currently, the economic value of this land route from China to Afghanistan is still not high. Though it has some strategic importance, this kind of transport is not yet on a [large] scale,” Zhu Yongbiao, a professor at Lanzhou University’s school of politics and international relations said.

China Is Capable of Blockading Taiwan, U.S. Navy Commander Says

Niharika Mandhana

‘If they want to bully and put ships around Taiwan, they very much can do that,’ said Vice Adm. Karl Thomas

China’s armed forces are capable of blockading Taiwan, a senior U.S. Navy official said, pointing to the size of the country’s navy, which is the world’s largest and growing at a rapid pace.

“They have a very large navy, and if they want to bully and put ships around Taiwan, they very much can do that,” Vice Adm. Karl Thomas, commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

China conducted military drills last month that sought to demonstrate its ability to blockade Taiwan, a democratic, self-governing island it sees as part of its territory. The drills came in response to a visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the island in August and occurred in six zones that effectively encircled Taiwan. By using a blockade, military analysts say, Beijing could try to force submission by Taiwan’s government without an invasion.

For decades, Washington has maintained a policy of strategic ambiguity, not saying whether it would directly intervene in a conflict. Though the White House says that policy hasn’t changed, President Biden has said that the U.S. would defend Taiwan if China tried to invade. In an interview that aired Sunday on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” he reiterated his position, saying the U.S. military would get involved if there was an unprecedented attack.

How China’s Panda Diplomacy Opened Hearts, Minds, and Borders

Christina Lu

It can be hard to win friends and influence people in geopolitics, so China has turned to uniquely charming foreign-policy envoys: pandas. For decades, Beijing has dispatched as many as 70 jumbo bears to zoos around the world, part of a unique soft-power strategy that the world now knows as panda diplomacy.

‘Several Things Have Shocked Me’: An Ex-Insider on Business in China

Ravi Mattu

Desmond Shum was one of China’s most well-connected businessmen. He and his former wife, Duan Weihong, used their relationships with top government officials to build a multibillion-dollar property development company during a golden age for entrepreneurs starting in the mid-1990s.

Now, tensions with the West dominate discussion, with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen sharply criticizing China’s treatment of American companies on a trip to Beijing this week.

Mr. Shum left China in 2015 as Xi Jinping, the country’s leader, asserted greater state control over the country and its businesses. Duan, also known as Whitney, disappeared two years later. (It is believed that Communist Party officials detained her after a high-ranking political ally was held on suspicion of corruption.)

Mr. Shum told the story of their rise and fall — and the murky reality of doing business in China — in his 2021 memoir. Many details cannot be independently verified but his role at the intersection of business and politics is certain. He now lives in Britain with the couple’s son (neither of them has seen Duan since she vanished) and says it is unsafe for him to travel to China.

Mr. Shum will testify next week in Congress about the challenges for U.S. businesses operating in China. This conversation has been condensed and edited for clarity.

More on BritainWrestling With Change: The youngest headmaster in the history of Eton College, the elite English boarding school, is trying to navigate a tightrope between tradition and evolution.

A Second Coronation: King Charles III was presented with a scepter, sword of state and the crown first worn by Mary Queen of Scots as part of a ceremony in Scotland that bore all the regal trappings of a coronation, if not the same legal status.

Navy Intel Brief Urges Robust Challenge to China

John A. Tirpak

China is “actively destabilizing” the Indo-Pacific region and undermining the international rules-based order—with its island-building, stifling of democracy in Hong Kong, objective to take Taiwan, and dangerous brinksmanship with other countries’ ships and aircraft—yet somehow projects more “moral legitimacy” than the U.S., according to an analysis from the Office of Naval Intelligence.

The U.S. needs to call out China’s bad behavior, hold it accountable, and mount a muscular communications campaign to counter China’s messaging on American actions, according to a recent unclassified Office of Naval Intelligence briefing obtained by Air & Space Forces Magazine.

“We are engaged in an international struggle between competing visions. China is executing a grand strategy, and has been unified in pursuing it comprehensively and aggressively for many years,” according to the briefing, released under the signature of ONI commander Rear Adm. Mike Studeman.

Those ends include being first a regional then global hegemon, wresting influence away from the U.S., and imposing a new world order that favors Beijing, Studeman said. The goal—internally called the “rejuvenation” of China as the world’s greatest power—justifies “any mean” of achieving it, the briefing said.

China is increasingly using “espionage, coercion, pressure, subversion, and disinformation” to achieve global advantage and “shape the international system.”

Winning the competition of visions—between democracy and authoritarianism—means the U.S. cannot afford an “anemic information instrument” and must challenge China’s narrative about its peaceful rise and intentions. Not speaking out “makes the [U.S.] more vulnerable,” according to the brief.

“We need to win the peace as well as prevail in a crisis/war,” Studeman said.

The briefing—marked “unclassified” and intended for members of Congress and the Administration—was dated in June.

Winning Ugly What the War on Terror Cost America

Elliot Ackerman

My first mission as a paramilitary officer with the CIA was against a top-ten al Qaeda target. It was the autumn of 2009, and I had been deployed in my new job for a total of two days. But I was no stranger to Afghanistan, having already fought there (as well as in Iraq) as a Marine Corps officer over the previous six years. On this mission, I was joined by the Afghan counterterrorism unit I advised and a handful of members from SEAL Team Six. Our plan was to conduct a raid to capture or kill our target, who was coming across the border from Pakistan for a meeting in the Korengal Valley.

The night was moonless as we slipped into the valley. The 70-odd members of our raid force hiked under night-vision goggles for a couple of hours, taking on hundreds of feet of elevation in silence until we arrived at a village on a rocky outcropping where the meeting was being held. As surveillance and strike aircraft orbited the starry sky, a subset of our force sprinted toward the house where an informant had told us the target was staying. There was a brief and sharp gunfight; none of our men were hurt, and several of our adversaries were killed. But the target was taken alive. Then we slipped out of the valley as expeditiously as we had arrived. By early morning, we had made it safely to the U.S. Army outpost, where our prisoner would soon be transferred to Bagram Air Base.

The sun was breaking over the jagged ridgeline as we filled out the paperwork transferring custody. The mood among our raid force, which had been tense all night, suddenly eased. We lounged in a small dirt parking lot, helmets off, laughing and recounting the details of our mission. A convoy would soon arrive to usher us back to our base, where we would get some much-needed rest and a decent meal. We would then await our next target, continuing what was proving to be a successful U.S. campaign to decapitate al Qaeda’s leadership. We were feeling, in short, victorious.

Lessons for the Next Arab Spring

Shadi Hamid

On July 3, 2013, the Arab Spring ended. A military coup ousted the democratically elected government of Mohamed Morsi, the Egyptian president who was a leader in the Muslim Brotherhood. Today, a decade later, the role the United States played in the events leading up to the coup, and the coup itself, is still contentious.

UN Security Council Reform: What the World Thinks


The United Nations (UN) Security Council’s failure to act on Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has reignited long-smoldering global demands to overhaul the world’s premier body for international peace and security. U.S. President Joe Biden fanned these embers in his September 2022 speech to the UN General Assembly. After reiterating long-standing U.S. support for “increasing the number of both permanent and non-permanent representatives,” Biden added a new twist: the United States now endorses not only “permanent seats for those nations we’ve long supported”—that is, Japan, Germany, and India—but also “permanent seats for countries in Africa [and] Latin America and the Caribbean.” Biden’s surprise announcement kicked off the latest flurry of multilateral diplomacy on the perennial and seemingly intractable challenge of Security Council reform.

Few topics generate so much talk and so little action as Security Council reform. In December 1992, the General Assembly created an open-ended working group to review equitable representation on the council. More than three decades later, that (aptly named) body continues to meet—with no tangible results. In October 2008, the UN formally authorized intergovernmental negotiations on the “question of equitable representation and increase in the membership of the Security Council.” After fifteen years of fruitless discussion, the diplomatic impasse persists in part because member states have never agreed to negotiate on the basis of a single rolling text.

The impulse for reform is understandable. Nearly eight decades after its creation, the Security Council retains the same five permanent members (P5)—China, France, Russia (following the dissolution of the Soviet Union), the United Kingdom, and the United States. Since 1945, however, major players like India and Brazil have emerged, to say nothing of Japan and Germany, the long-rehabilitated aggressors of World War II. Even as the UN’s overall membership has nearly quadrupled (from fifty-one to 193 member states) thanks to decolonization and the dissolution of multiethnic states, the council’s composition has expanded only once, in 1965, when the addition of four elected seats grew the council from eleven to fifteen members.

The EU Data Act: The Long Arm of European Tech Regulation Continues

Meredith Broadbent

As recently as the 1980s, most U.S. trading partners sought to adopt U.S.-style regulations governing business, manufacturing, and consumer safety. However, the dominance of U.S. regulatory practices in the global tech sector has given way due to the ascendancy of the European Commission. Brussels’s growing global regulatory influence marks a tectonic shift: European regulators are increasingly succeeding in demanding changes in the business methods of U.S. tech companies as the price of doing business in Europe, and Europe’s influence is spreading beyond the continent as a result.

Although elements of European tech regulation in the pursuit of digital sovereignty threaten the success of U.S. businesses in global markets, U.S. officials have hesitated to insist on fair treatment in Europe. A case in point is the latest Trade and Technology Council meeting and declaration. Meanwhile, the administration under U.S. president Joseph Biden is bending the language of regulations under the Inflation Reduction Act beyond what Congress intended to accommodate Europe’s objection to discriminatory aspects of the legislation.

Large internet platforms—mostly U.S.-based tech businesses—have led the way in global tech innovation from Web 2.0 to artificial intelligence, despite Europe having a roughly comparable gross domestic product (GDP), population, and talent pool of educated workers. Most game-changing large language models have been developed by U.S. digital services firms competing with one another, not European firms. Even with the success of the light-touch U.S. regulatory environment, Europe believes, to the contrary, that more heavy-handed regulation will nurture the growth of aspirational European tech champions.
Regulatory Costs for U.S. Companies

The EU Data Act makes clear that if Europe intends to impose regulations that slow down U.S.-based tech companies through targeted “gatekeeper” designations and asymmetric data sharing requirements and limitations so that European firms have space to catch up, it will do so.

How to end Russia’s war on Ukraine

As Ukraine continues to fight to liberate its occupied territories and eject Russian invaders, its Western backers debate the likely endgame for the war and its aftermath. The international response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, while impressive in many ways, remains inadequate to the task and dangerously wobbly. Russia’s wider threat to the rules-based international order is also insufficiently acknowledged.

Many proposals have been put forward for how the conflict could, or should, be brought to a close. Some, though well-intentioned, involve concessions that would effectively appease Russia, betray Ukraine and endanger Europe. Persistent calls for a ceasefire or ‘negotiated settlement’ to end the fighting without tackling its underlying cause – Russia’s ambition to eliminate Ukraine as we know it – will do no more than reward the aggressor while punishing the victim.

This multi-author report takes nine commonly espoused ideas for quick fixes or objections to bolstering assistance to Ukraine, and weighs them against both current reality and their long-term consequences. The unanimous conclusion of the authors is that the only outcome to the war that can safeguard the future security of Europe is a convincing Ukrainian victory – hence, Western military support to Kyiv should be redoubled before it is too late.

Image — Seized Russian military equipment and weapons displayed in Kyiv, 23 August 2022. 


It’s now or never for Ukraine. A protracted or frozen conflict benefits Russia and hurts Ukraine, as does a ceasefire or negotiated settlement on Russia’s terms. If Ukraine is to avoid these outcomes and turn tenacious defence and incremental battlefield gains into outright victory, it needs far more ambitious international military assistance than it has received to date. This report presents the case for an immediate and decisive increase in such support, seeks to dispel overhyped concerns about provoking Russia, and counsels against accommodating Moscow’s demands.

Army University Press

Military Review, July-August 2023, v. 103, no. 4 Develop, Modernize, Influence

Juneteenth: Freedom’s Journey (1619–2123)

Concrete Command: Why Combat Training Centers Should Prioritize Training on Urban Command Posts

Bayraktars and Grenade-Dropping Quadcopters: How Ukraine and Nagorno-Karabakh Highlight

Present Air and Missile Defense Shortcomings and the Necessity of Unmanned Aircraft Systems

The Exploitable Conditions Framework: Strategies for Sociocultural Research and Analysis

The Wagner Group and U.S. Security Force Assistance in Africa: Changed and Challenging Dynamics

Army University Press Products Relevant to INDOPACOM and Korea

Toward a Mutually Beneficial Partnership with India to Improve U.S. Strategy in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command

The Responsibility to (Selectively) Protect: R2P’s Dubious Future Post-Libya

The Impact of Supply Chain Issues on Military Training and Readiness

A Foundational Approach to Build and Sustain a Strong People-Focused Culture at the Battalion Level and Below

Contextualizing the Results: Improving the Order of Merit List

The Discipline Gap: How Army Leadership Curricula Misses the Mark and Why It Should Change

Reexamining Administrative Investigations: Creating an Investigating Officer Functional Area

Setting the Conditions for Mission Command to Flourish

Ballad of the Green Beret: The Life and Wars of Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler from the Vietnam 

War and Pop Stardom to Murder and an Unsolved, Violent Death

US to send cluster munitions to Ukraine following congressional pressure


The United States will send cluster munitions to Ukraine, a decision that favors Ukraine’s hunger for ammunition over concerns by allies and human rights groups about the use of the widely banned weapon.

The latest U.S. military aid package for Ukraine, announced Friday, includes 155-millimeter artillery shells containing dual purpose improved conventional munitions, or cluster munitions.

Cluster munitions are made up of smaller bombs that scatter over a wide area in order to maximize casualties among enemy troops. Both Ukraine and Russia already use cluster munitions.

Human rights groups have opposed the U.S. sending cluster munitions because they can accidentally kill civilians, either in the initial blast or due to unexploded submunitions falling to the ground and detonating weeks, months, or years later.

For months the White House declined to send the ordinance despite Ukrainian requests. On Friday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the weapons would have a dud rate of 2.5 percent or less. It is unclear how the White House arrived at this test result amid concerns that the real dud rate may be higher.

Last week, Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., asked the Pentagon for information about dud rates, munitions types, and fuses, which can affect the dud rates.

The decision to send munitions “draws a stark contrast between two competing interests: the humanitarian dangers posed by these munitions but also the need to support Ukraine in its existential fight for survival,” Crow said Friday.

US’s Myanmar policy is absolutely wrong by Brahma Chellani

China’s rapid inroads into Myanmar are a strategic loss to the US and a direct result of US’s own policies. Instead of closing the door to dialogue by imposing tough sanctions, the United States should cooperate with Myanmar’s military leaders to its strategic advantage.

NEW DELHI – A recent joint statement by US President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi “expressed deep concern about the deteriorating situation in Myanmar” and called for constructive dialogue to aid the country’s transition towards an inclusive federal democratic system. evoked set. Unfortunately, the US-led sanctions policy has undermined this goal and made a bad situation worse.

Western sanctions have left the ruling military elite relatively unaffected while ordinary citizens of Myanmar suffer, giving the junta little incentive to loosen its political grip. The primary beneficiary has been China, which has been allowed to gain a foothold in a country it views as a strategic gateway to the Indian Ocean and an important source of natural resources.

This development has increased the regional security challenges. For example, Chinese military personnel are now helping to build a listening post on Myanmar’s Great Coco Island, just north of India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands, home to the Indian military’s only tri-services command. Is. Once operational, the new spying station will likely help China with its maritime surveillance of India, including monitoring nuclear submarine movements and tracking missile tests that frequently land in the Bay of Bengal.

500 Days of Learning (Part 1)


Over the weekend, the 500-day mark since Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine was reached. It has been 500 days of appalling Russian brutality, torture, murder and wanton destruction in Ukraine. At the same time, we have witnessed the resilience, courage and inventiveness of Ukrainian society and the various elements of their defence and national security apparatus.

One of the frameworks that I use when studying war generally, and the war in Ukraine in particular, is of war as a learning opportunity. It is an adaptation battle between the belligerents.

A central responsibility for the most senior leaders in any military, or national security, institution is providing the incentives for innovation during peace time, so that the good ideas, appropriate organisations and leading-edge technology can be combined to provide an advantage over adversaries in war. This, in turn, requires a cultural predisposition to learning and sharing lessons widely, accepting failure as an opportunity to learn, and a well-honed understanding of risk.

Throughout this war, learning and adaptation has occurred on both sides. The learning and adaptation that occurs in an enemy force, as it has with the Russians over the past 500 days, must also be the subject of close study. This is to ensure we understand where the enemy, in this case the Russians, might produce sources of advantage.

My last article that examined Russian adaptation was published back in April. In it I explored Russian tactical adaptations, as well as how these adaptations might be neutralised or minimised in the adaptation battle. As I wrote then:

Four scenarios for Russia’s future after the Wagner Group mutiny

Jeffrey Cimmino

The extraordinary march of Wagner Group leader Yevgeniy Prigozhin’s forces to within a couple hours of Moscow ended abruptly on June 24. But Prigozhin’s decision to stand down and move to Belarus will not be the end of the story.

While the immediate crisis for Russian President Vladimir Putin may dissipate, what scenarios should US and allied officials prepare for in the coming days, weeks, months, and beyond? Here are four possible paths for Russia’s future.

1. A weakened Putin rules

Putin restores order and effectively reduces the ability of Prigozhin and the Wagner Group to challenge his rule. Prigozhin stays in Belarus with a diminished force, while other Wagner fighters go home or join the ranks of the regular Russian armed forces.

Nevertheless, even if Putin remains in power for the foreseeable future, the façade of order and stability that he has constructed over two decades in power has been shattered, with Russia’s would-be tsar showing himself to be vulnerable to competing actors. Quick action to sideline Prigozhin dissuades potential internal challengers from following Wagner’s example, but Putin still needs to pay extra attention to keep different oligarchical interests and power brokers in line.

Russia’s internal dynamics will also shape, and be shaped by, the war effort in Ukraine. Overcoming the mutiny and preventing severe immediate challenges to his authority allows Putin to refocus to some degree on the war effort.

In this scenario, Putin is better positioned to concentrate his security forces on preventing major gains for the Ukrainian counteroffensive. The rapidity with which the crisis was resolved, as well as the lack of successor crises within Russia, means that any effect on Russian soldiers’ morale is limited. Ukraine could still make some important gains in this counteroffensive, but its forces will receive less help from internal disarray in Russia.

Investing in Ideas, Influencing Policy: A Guide to Think Tank Effectiveness

Howard Husock, Philanthropy Roundtable

Executive Summary

As donors evaluate think tank investments, this paper proposes a series of features that distinguish independent autonomous public policy think tanks and their effectiveness in influencing public policy choices. With careful consideration to the process outlined in this report, donors may direct think tank funding toward those with high impact.

It will discuss and exemplify the following stages of an effective think tank as follows:Conceptualizing the “think tank question”: Including discussion of how a think tank project differs from purely academic research.

Promotion of research findings: Why think tanks seeking impact must maintain public communication arms and public-facing scholars.

Seizing the moment: Understanding when a window of policy opportunity has opened—whether for new or older findings—and acting on it. This can include legal action. While the examples of policy reform successes in this paper focus on the work of think tanks, it is important to note that these successes were often aided by the joint efforts of coalitions of nonprofit organizations.

Engaging allies: Either actively working in coalitions or making supportive interest groups aware of findings at the appropriate time.

Impact and politics: Including the decision of if and when to compromise.

New Report Reveals CISA Tried to Cover Up Censorship Practices

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Judiciary Committee and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government released an interim staff report detailing how the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) — an agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) originally intended to protect pipelines and other critical infrastructure from cyberattacks — expanded its mission to surveil and censor Americans' speech on social media. The report entitled, "The Weaponization of CISA: How a 'Cybersecurity' Agency Colluded with Big Tech and 'Disinformation' Partners to Censor Americans," outlines collusion between CISA, Big Tech, and government-funded third parties to conduct censorship by proxy and cover up CISA's unconstitutional activities.

The Committees have been conducting an investigation into how the federal government coerced and colluded with private companies and other third-party groups to censor speech, including subpoenaing CISA for documents and communications on April 28, 2023. The Twitter Files and other public reporting have exposed how the federal government has pressured and colluded with Big Tech and other intermediaries to censor certain viewpoints in ways that undermine First Amendment principles.

Although the investigation is ongoing, information obtained to date has revealed that the CISA has facilitated the censorship of Americans directly and through third-party intermediaries. The report also details how:CISA considered the creation of an anti-misinformation "rapid response team" capable of physically deploying across the United States.

CISA moved its censorship operation to a CISA-funded non-profit after CISA and the Biden Administration were sued in federal court, implicitly admitting that its censorship activities are unconstitutional.

CISA wanted to use the same CISA-funded non-profit as its mouthpiece to "avoid the appearance of government propaganda."

Members of CISA's advisory committee agonized that it was "only a matter of time before someone realizes we exist and starts asking about our work."

In response to mounting public scrutiny, CISA scrubbed its website of references to its domestic surveillance and censorship activities.

Read the full interim report here.

Counterterrorism:Action Needed to Further Develop the Information Sharing Environment

Federal agencies have started projects to improve how they share terrorism-related information with the intelligence community and other public and private partners. However, there hasn't been a Program Manager to review or assess the impact of these projects since 2017. As a result, it's unclear if these programs are meeting the priority objectives set in the national information-sharing strategy.

Conflicting changes to the law have recently made it difficult to select a new Program Manager. Our recommendations would help ensure that the position is filled and agency progress is assessed.

The Information Sharing Environment (ISE) is a framework to improve terrorism-related information sharing among federal and non-federal partners (i.e., Tribal, state, local, territorial, and private sector partners) through policy guidelines, common standards, and technologies. In 2013, federal officials developed an implementation plan that identified 16 priority objectives (e.g., develop baseline sharing capabilities) needed to implement the framework. As of 2017, federal agencies—including the Office of the Director of the National Intelligence (ODNI), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Department of Justice (DOJ)—had completed all but three of the 16 priority objectives.

Cybersecurity:Launching and Implementing the National Cybersecurity Strategy

Federal agency information systems and national critical infrastructure are vulnerable to cyberattacks.

This Snapshot covers the status of the National Cybersecurity Strategy. The strategy's goals and strategic objectives provide a good foundation, but the Administration needs to establish specific objectives and performance measures, resource requirements, and roles and responsibilities.

It will be difficult to implement the strategy when the specific details have yet to be issued. The continued vacancy in the role of National Cyber Director is also a challenge.

The fiscal year 2021 national defense authorization act established the Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD) and the Senate confirmed a National Cyber Director in June 2021 to serve as the principal advisor to the President on cybersecurity policy and strategy. In March 2023, the White House issued the National Cybersecurity Strategy, describing five pillars supporting the nation's cybersecurity:Defend critical infrastructure

Disrupt and dismantle threat actors

Shape market forces to drive security and resilience

Invest in a resilient future

Forge international partnerships

In April 2023, GAO reported that the goals and strategic objectives included in the document provide a good foundation for establishing a more comprehensive strategy. Specifically, the strategy fully addressed three of six desirable characteristics of a national strategy. However, it only partially addressed the remaining three. These includegoals, subordinate objectives, activities, and performance measures;

resources, investments, and risk management; and

organizational roles, responsibilities, and coordination.

Independent Assessment of Missile Defense Agency Processes for Flight Test Planning and Execution

Joseph T. Buontempo; John S. Hong; Matthew R. Girardi; Jeremy A. Teichman; Robert V. Uy

IDA examined the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) flight test program and its role in characterizing the system’s specific capabilities and limitations, demonstrating the overall BMDS capability to allies and adversaries, deterring adversaries’ use of ballistic missiles, building warfighter confidence and validating and verifying the BMDS models and simulations. Other aspects of the BMDS test program – such as ground tests, the use of models and simulations, exercises and wargames – were outside the scope of this assessment. IDA’s overarching approach to conducting the study included reviewing relevant documentation and conducting interviews with government officials from the Missile Defense Agency and other relevant Department of Defense stakeholder organizations to hear their perspectives and learn from their experiences. IDA analyzed the information and identified common trends and issues. This report documents IDA’s findings and recommendations.DOWNLOAD PUBLICATION (OPEN EXTERNAL LINK)

Outsmarting Agile Adversaries in the Electromagnetic Spectrum

Padmaja Vedula, Abbie Tingstad, Lance Menthe, Karishma R. Mehta, Jonathan Roberts, Robert A. Guffey, Natalie W. Crawford, Brad A. Bemish, Richard Payne, Erik Schuh

Research QuestionsHow are adversary capabilities in the EMS evolving?

How fast does electronic warfare–related software reprogramming need to be to keep pace with threats?

What obstacles exist within the current intel-to-reprogramming process?

What advanced technologies are needed to achieve necessary improvements?

The U.S. Air Force's electronic warfare integrated reprogramming (EWIR) enterprise examines intelligence on adversary threats that emit in the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) (in particular, radars and jammers) and configures electronic warfare software and hardware to enable aircraft or other resources to react to and/or respond to adverse changes in the EMS environment. With the growing advancements in U.S. adversaries' electronic warfare assets that enable complex and diverse EMS capabilities, identifying, tracking, and responding to these threats requires much faster updates than the existing EWIR enterprise was designed for. The research team conducted four interrelated technology case studies that together comprise the fundamental elements necessary for creating a near-real-time, autonomous, inflight software reprogramming capability and, more specifically, artificial intelligence–enabled cognitive electronic warfare capabilities—the use of machine learning algorithms that enable platforms to learn, reprogram, adapt, and effectively counter threats in flight. The research team also highlighted important continuing roles for the existing EWIR enterprise even as the U.S. Air Force moves toward a cognitive future.

Key Findings

Options for Strengthening All-Source Intelligence

Cortney Weinbaum, Bradley M. Knopp, Soo Kim, Yuliya Shokh

Research QuestionsWhat challenges does the IC face in today's environment?

What would current and former U.S. and foreign intelligence leaders, practitioners, and scholars change about the IC's approach to all-source analysis if they could?

Have the goals of previous intelligence reforms been realized in all-source analysis, and, if not, what barriers exist that need to be lifted?

Where do the greatest opportunities for meaningful improvements to all-source analysis in the IC reside?

Foreign attacks against the United States occur frequently, but the American people, U.S. policymakers, and even some intelligence analysts have become inured to the rising temperature of these national security threats. Although changes have occurred in the structure and organization of intelligence agencies, the intelligence community (IC) continues to face long-standing challenges related to collaboration, the use of open sources, analytic tradecraft, and the risk of politicization.

The current environment demands prompt consideration of changes to intelligence structures and authorities that would enable intelligence analysts to become aware of foreign interference and disinformation campaigns sooner; ensure the dissemination of unclassified intelligence assessments to everyone who needs access to them, including private sector organizations; and protect against politicization.

This exploratory study sought to address these needs by proposing Big Ideas—game-changing ideas that, while bold and audacious, are also implementable without requiring major intelligence reform.

How Threads Became One of the Fastest Growing Apps Ever


In the day after it launched to the public, Meta’s new text-based app Threads saw an explosion of new users unmatched by any other company aiming to rival the struggling social media platform—or almost any app in the past decade.

Within two hours of its launch on Wednesday evening, 2 million people had already downloaded the app, widely seen as a copycat to Twitter. By Friday morning, sign-ups had surpassed 70 million, a figure CEO Mark Zuckerberg said was “way beyond our expectations.” The Verge reported that users had already posted more than 95 million posts and 190 million likes, based on internal company data.

The company’s early success has not been lost on Twitter and its owner, Elon Musk, who took to the platform to criticize the app on Thursday evening. Twitter’s legal team quickly threatened legal action over Threads, reportedly alleging in a letter that Meta had engaged in “unlawful misappropriation” of its trade secrets.
Who has joined threads?

According to data provided to TIME by Sensor Tower and data.ai, Threads was the most downloaded non-game app on a launch day in the past decade. As of July 6 it had amassed approximately 40 million worldwide downloads, according to Sensor Tower. While data.ai says Nintendo’s Mario Kart Tour was the fastest-ever growing app, Threads came in second and its launch outpaced those of popular apps like Pokemon GO and Call of Duty Mobile. Zuckerberg reported that Threads reached 30 million users in less than 24 hours. By comparison Instagram took 15 months to reach 30 million downloads, while TikTok reached the milestone in just under two years, according to data.ai. (ChatGPT’s app, released at the end of last year, is just shy of 18 million downloads, data.ai says.) But the early numbers are still dwarfed by the 368 million users who visit Twitter daily, according to the Business of Apps.

The ‘nightmare’ cybersecurity scenario being war gamed by government

Matthew Knott

One of Sydney Airport’s main terminals has descended into chaos. New high-tech scanners that were supposed to speed up check-in times have stopped working. It turns out a malicious cyber actor has infiltrated the system. No passengers can be screened for flights without manual intervention.

The problem begins to metastasise. Soon after the airport reports the incident to the federal government, a major airline’s check-in software starts malfunctioning. Cybersecurity experts discover a ransom note from a hacker claiming responsibility for the attack and demanding payment. Unless they get the cash, the hacker threatens that things will keep getting worse at the country’s busiest airport. Journalists are now clamouring for answers on what is clearly a major cybersecurity breach and the national security committee of cabinet wants a detailed briefing.

This incident has never occurred; it’s entirely fictional. But it’s the precise type of scenario the federal government fears could soon take place, and is preparing to respond to through a new series of cyber war games. The exercises began in April, when corporate leaders and regulators from the banking and finance sector gathered to examine how they would respond to a crippling cyberattack on one of Australia’s biggest banks.

Telegram has become a window into war

Masha Borak

As Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner Group, was marching toward Moscow in late June, all eyes were on one platform: Telegram. Bloggers, citizens, and the government relayed the news through the messaging app to millions of followers while global media outlets scoured it for any information they could relay to the world. Prigozhin himself dramatically narrated his revolt through voice messages to his 1.3 million followers.

Since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Telegram has gained an outsize influence on one of the world’s most watched conflicts. “Telegram is fantastic for many, many reasons and for the fact that we’ve managed to see what is happening at such a crucial point in history,” says Jordan Wildon, digital investigator and founder of open-source intelligence (OSINT) agency Prose Intelligence.

But despite its unique historical role, the platform, founded by Pavel Durov, presents a challenge. Its founder’s emphasis on privacy and hands-off moderation has protected its users from surveillance but has also allowed Telegram to become a tool of misinformation and manipulation — with users struggling to decipher the reality in the flood of information coming from their phones.

“The good news is everybody gets to have an outlet but the bad news is – everybody gets an outlet,” says Wildon.

In Russia, Telegram has become sometimes the only source of information amid stifling government censorship. Across the border, the platform has become a lifeline for Ukrainians trying to keep safe from Russia’s attacks and track troop movements. And for the rest of the world, Telegram has become the window into a war that has destabilized the world.

“The good news is everybody gets to have an outlet but the bad news is – everybody gets an outlet.”

Among the crucial sources of information during the past year have been Russian pro-war military bloggers, who congregate on Telegram. Russian bloggers first gained prominence in the early 2010s on LiveJournal (known as ZheZhe), a Russian-owned blogging service that hosted writers of all political persuasions. After the platform started getting targeted by authorities, bloggers moved on to Facebook.