15 July 2023

PM Modi to unveil long-overdue recognition for Indian Army at Bastille-Day Parade

Huma Siddqui

This invitation presents an opportunity for Prime Minister Modi to reclaim the lost honor of Indian soldiers and highlight their crucial role in the First and Second World Wars. The denial of their importance by Western media has long been a source of disappointment in India.

For the first time in 107 years, a contingent of the Indian Army will march alongside French soldiers in Paris during the Bastille-Day Parade.

In a significant gesture, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been invited by French President Emmanuel Macron to participate in the prestigious Bastille Day Parade held in Paris as the Guest of Honor. This invitation presents an opportunity for Prime Minister Modi to reclaim the lost honor of Indian soldiers and highlight their crucial role in the First and Second World Wars. The denial of their importance by Western media has long been a source of disappointment in India. This event, scheduled for July 14, 2023, not only commemorates the sacrifice and dedication of Indian soldiers but also serves as a moment of pride for the entire world, including Europe.

Indo-French Naval and Air Forces unite to celebrate Bastille Day in France

Recognition of Indian Army’s Contributions:

For the first time in 107 years, a contingent of the Indian Army will march alongside French soldiers in Paris during the Bastille-Day Parade. This historic inclusion signifies a momentous occasion to acknowledge the valor and bravery demonstrated by Indian soldiers throughout military history. It is a much-needed acknowledgment of their significant contributions to both World War I and World War II. Despite their pivotal role, Western media, as exemplified by the Hollywood movie Dunkirk, often neglected to portray Indian soldiers in their rightful place.

Taliban says Meta's Threads ‘cannot replace’ Twitter; lists two reasons

Sanchari Ghosh

Afghan Taliban's powerful faction the Haqqani Network has expressed support for Twitter amid the ongoing Twitter vs Threads debate. Anas Haqqani, a top Taliban leader in Kabul, highlighted two advantages of Twitter over other social media platforms: freedom of speech and the public nature and credibility of Twitter. Haqqani stated that Twitter's content moderation policy, which is seen as more tolerant compared to platforms like Meta, makes it the preferred choice for the Haqqani Network.

Praising the policies of Twitter, Haqqani said, “The first privilege is the freedom of speech. The second privilege is the public nature & credibility of Twitter."

“Twitter doesn't have an intolerant policy like Meta. Other platforms cannot replace it."

Meanwhile, Meta's Twitter rival Threads has passed 100 million users in just 5 days since its launch. Threads has also taken ChatGPT's crown as the fastest growing consumer product ever. Threads was launched on 6 July 2023 with the aim of becoming "the public conversation app with 1 billion people on it".

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted that demand for the social media app is 'mostly organic' and that many promotions haven't even been turned on yet.

“Threads reached 100 million sign ups over the weekend," Zuckerberg said in a post. “That’s mostly organic demand and we haven’t even turned on many promotions yet. Can’t believe it’s only been 5 days!"

Twitter threatens legal action against Thread

Twitter has threatened legal action against Meta over its new text-based app called Threads, which has drawn tens of millions of users since launching this week as a rival to Elon Musk’s social media platform.

China AI-Brain Research Brain-Inspired AI, Connectomics, Brain-Computer Interfaces

William Hannas, Huey-Meei Chang, Catherine Aiken, Daniel Chou

Since 2016, China has engaged in a nationwide effort to "merge" AI and neuroscience research as a major part of its next-generation AI development program. This report explores China’s AI-brain program — identifying key players and organizations and recommending the creation of an open source S&T monitoring capability within the U.S. government.

Executive Summary

Since 2016, China has engaged in a nationwide effort to “merge” artificial and human intelligence as a major part of its next-generation AI development program. The effort is not unique to China, although China enjoys natural advantages that may expedite its success.

The term “merge” is meant both figuratively, in the sense of creating a more human-friendly AI, for example, to support human decision making, and literally, in the sense of erasing distinctions between how AI and the brain operate, and how the two forms of intelligence interact.

China’s initiative involves research in three disciplinary areas: “brain-inspired” AI that models aspects of human cognition, “connectomics” or brain mapping, and brain-computer interfaces that link the two platforms. “Neuromorphic” digital-analog hybrid chips also play a role.

U.S. ability to monitor China’s AI and other high-tech development is hampered by the lack of a national scientific and technical intelligence organization.

A review of China’s statutory proclamations, enabling infrastructure, main practitioners, and scientific literature indicates the initiative is genuine and that China is pursuing the benchmark challenges characteristic of AI-brain research worldwide. China’s advantages in this area are national commitment, the world’s largest supply of laboratory grade non-human primates, a more permissive experimental ethos, fewer privacy concerns on data collection and use, and an unrivaled ability to absorb and apply foreign technical advances.

Some Chinese scientists involved in this initiative believe artificial general intelligence (AGI) may someday issue from this research, but we find no indication in the materials examined that any such “breakthrough” is imminent.

How China Exports Secrecy

Christopher Walker

China thrives on secrecy. Beijing’s approach to governance, which relies on surveillance and control rather than openness and deliberation, requires secrecy. And to sustain it, the Chinese government suppresses independent journalism, censors digital information, and closely guards the kind of information that democracies freely disclose.

This commitment to secrecy and censorship is a long-standing feature of the Chinese Communist Party’s rule. But under President Xi Jinping, whose ideas about governance may shape the world for years to come, the CCP has grown even more furtive. In recent months, the Chinese government has obscured the deaths of as many as one million people after it abruptly abandoned its harsh “zero COVID” policy. It has manipulated and withheld data about the pandemic. And it has broadened its draconian counterespionage laws to assert even greater control over China’s information environment.

Beijing has also emerged as a stealth exporter of secrecy abroad. This was seen most vividly in China’s manipulation of the World Health Organization. Chinese authorities suppressed domestic discussion of the Wuhan outbreak and refused to share information with global health authorities, hobbling the WHO’s response and forcing millions of people beyond China’s borders to pay a terrible price. Later, Beijing tried to manipulate the outcome of WHO inquiries into the origins of COVID-19. More than three years since the onset of the pandemic, Chinese authorities continue to resist WHO requests for data that might shed light on the source of the virus.

But it’s not just international organizations that have been affected by Beijing’s obsession with secrecy. As China projects its political, economic, and technological power globally through big-ticket infrastructure contracts, educational and media partnerships, and agreements to supply surveillance technologies, Beijing’s model of concealment is spreading beyond China’s borders. Countries striking deals with Beijing are discovering that they are expected to follow China’s lead, limiting transparency and accountability just as Chinese leaders do at home. The result of this pattern of engagement is a gradual erosion of global norms of transparency and open government—and the rise of new ones of concealment and opacity.


Winning friends by training workers is China’s new gambit

Shibani Mahtani, Joshua Irwandi 

PONOROGO, Indonesia — The rice fields in this part of East Java are still plowed by buffalo. There is little in the way of manufacturing or tourism. Every year thousands of residents follow a well-worn path to jobs as domestic helpers in Hong Kong or construction workers in Saudi Arabia.

Ziofani Alfirdaus, however, believes he will have a career and a future here. The 16-year-old is clear on the source of his optimism — China.

His local school hosts a Luban Workshop, a Chinese-funded and -directed vocational training program that teaches students how to service Chinese electric-vehicle engines, operate Chinese commercial drones and assemble Chinese robots. The educational assistance, all provided at no cost, has revolutionized the provincial school here with new technology and machinery to train students, as well as trips to vocational schools in China to build the skills of Indonesian educators.

Students who have gone through the workshops emerge sold on the merits of Chinese technology and, by extension, China itself, teachers and alumni say. Alfirdaus said he didn’t know what drones were until he started studying how to operate them, and now hopes to make a career using drones to make video and other visual content. China’s technology, he said, “will be helpful to all of mankind.”

Chinese Telecommunications Giants and Africa’s Emerging Digital Infrastructure

Daria Impiombato

This essay finds that Chinese technology and telecommunications companies play an increasingly dominant role in the rise of Africa’s digital infrastructure, creating key strategic opportunities for China’s global tech and geopolitical ambitions.

Chinese technology companies have become the main actors in the development of Africa’s digital infrastructure. Beijing’s influence has induced increasing dependence on Chinese providers in the financing, provision, and operation of critical information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure across Africa. These factors compound to create ripple effects where the end result is a potentially powerful political agenda both regionally and globally. Further, Beijing’s influence has assisted several Chinese technology companies in dominating certain areas of Africa’s tech space, overcoming and counteracting difficulties resulting from Western governments’ actions against the companies that excluded them from lucrative markets. This raises questions about the Western approach to engaging illiberal African countries, especially in areas in which China has increased its presence, such as the creation of internet services. In the short term, the Chinese party-state may improve its international image, economic standing, and sphere of influence. Over the longer term, China’s activities could create the tools needed to achieve a global alternative to the U.S.-led technological ecosystem and the rules-based order.

POLICY IMPLICATIONSMore investigations are needed to better understand how Chinese telecommunications companies operate in different contexts. These should assess the extent to which African countries’ dependence on Chinese providers has put them at risk of coercion and exploitation.

To mitigate these effects, the international community should push for the creation and enforcement of transparency mechanisms for ICT companies. This should diminish reliance on single-country sanctions that may have the unintended effect of propelling the growth and dominance of Chinese companies in more fragile states.

Democratic countries should invest in generating viable options for African states and the private sector to diversify the provision of digital infrastructure, engaging with local providers to mitigate dependence on China. While this may often not be economically convenient or viable in the short term, not doing so will leave space for Chinese telecommunications companies to fully dominate the African market.

Turkey drops opposition to Sweden’s NATO bid on eve of summit

Emily Rauhala, Kareem Fahim and Michael Birnbaum

VILNIUS, Lithuania — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday agreed to support Sweden’s NATO bid, a high-stakes, last-minute reversal that came after a year of obstruction and on the eve of a major alliance summit.

The deal, announced Monday in the Lithuanian capital, does not confer membership. But if Turkey and fellow holdout Hungary indeed ratify Swedish accession, NATO will grow, cementing a major shift in European security in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“This is a historic day,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, expressing confidence that Erdogan would move quickly to have the Turkish legislature approve the ratification. Hungary has said it does not want to be last to ratify, and Stoltenberg said “that problem will be solved.”

President Biden welcomed the news, saying he looks forward to welcoming Sweden “as our 32nd NATO ally.”

Sweden has a robust military, and its entrance would drop the final puzzle piece into the alliance’s Nordic region, fully ringing the Baltic Sea with NATO coastline — apart from the parts that are Russian territory. Military planners say NATO’s defenses will be significantly stronger as a result.

Legion-X: Israel’s Elbit demonstrates man-machine teaming from UAS to ground robots


CENTRAL ISRAEL — In a dry field bordered by stands of trees and brush in central Israel are several sleek containers, each roughly the height of a person and several feet wide. They have doors on the top. Two of them open, each revealing a drone inside.

One by one, the large quadcopter drones lift off. Their buzzing soon fades after they rise several dozen meters into the air and fly off to scan a nearby field. Meanwhile two six-wheeled unmanned vehicles roll forward. One of them releases its own drone on a tether and the other ground vehicle, which has a weapon station with a machine gun, prepares to target a potential threat. Each of the systems work together, and the data they gather, including video and where they are in relation to one another, is projected onto a screen at a nearby observation post.

The drones working in combination to observe, investigate, track and target, were part of a demonstration put on by Israel’s Elbit Systems, which hoped to spotlight what unmanned capabilities, teamed with human operators, can achieve. The networked tech, dubbed Legion-X technology, is designed to link variety of unmanned systems, in this case the company’s Thor drones and Rook unmanned vehicle. The company sees the capability as an asset in the cross-domain digital space, knitting together different platforms and units. They describe this as connecting holistic elements into a “digital battlefield.”

Elbit says Legion-X is “an autonomous networked combat solution based on robotic platforms and heterogeneous swarms. … Designed to support a wide range of human-machine teaming (HMT) operations, Legion-X enables connectivity and control of air, sea (surface and sub-surface) and land (terrain and sub-terrain) unmanned platforms.” The company says Legion X can serve missions at forward operating bases, at the tactical ground forces level, or in urban warfare scenarios, among other areas.

Most modern armies are going through a process of digitization, and have run up against the challenge of not only coordinating the variety of high-tech assets in the field, but organizing the deluge of information they provide to warfighters. Small drones, especially, have become key fixtures of the modern battlefield for surveillance as well as direct attack, as has played out the conflict in Ukraine.

Guardians of the Nile: No Interstate War, No Peace

Natasha Hall

In 1979, then Egyptian president Anwar Sadat famously declared that the only thing that would lead Egypt to war again was water, specifically the Nile River. Egypt’s dominance over the Nile—which still accounts for 97 percent of the country’s fresh water—has gone unchallenged, and in the hands of his successors, President Sadat’s saber-rattling has remained just that. But times are changing. At the headwaters of the Blue Nile, Ethiopia unilaterally moved ahead with the construction and filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Egypt described the dam as an existential threat. Nevertheless, Sadat’s prediction remains an unlikely outcome, especially when interference in neighbors’ internal politics may achieve the same ends.

Though Egyptian officials threatened to bomb the dam in the past, analysts believe that destroying it would be militarily and politically infeasible now that it is complete and nearly full. However, interfering in any of the protracted disputes along the Blue Nile Basin would run shy of an official declaration of war on water but could effectively weaken a state’s ability to develop water usage and infrastructure development. Indeed, Nile riparian states have long made such allegations. In a 2011 interview, the late Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi accused Egypt of supporting Ethiopia’s rebels and enemies to destabilize the government. In 2016, Ethiopian officials again accused Egypt of sponsoring anti-government protests and armed rebellions.

Envisioning a Multirole Future for the MQ-25

At the Naval Institute’s July 2022 “Maritime Security Dialogue: Naval Aviation Update,” Rear Admiral Andrew J. Loiselle, director of the Air Warfare Division on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations (OpNav), articulated what has long been discussed regarding the MQ-25 Stingray, stating that it will initially be a tanker, but that the Navy has “not nailed down an exact concept of operations.”1 The MQ-25’s initial performance goal is to deliver 16,000 pounds of gas at a distance of 500 nautical miles (nm) from the carrier.2

Much ink has been spilled in Proceedings on the possibilities of this aircraft, but most of it has discussed those possibilities in speculative terms or in broad strokes concerning unmanned naval aviation in general.3 Others have thoughtfully proposed specific ideas on what the future of unmanned carrier aircraft should look like.4 More recently, a group of authors made clear the MQ-25’s value as a tanker and the prominent role it will play in enabling deep-strike missions for the air wing.5

Many have advocated for the MQ-25 to serve as a deep-strike asset, citing its low-observable features, long range, and lack of a human pilot in harm’s way.6 Indeed, some have argued that the MQ-25 would revive the deep-strike mission that the Navy lost when the A-12 Avenger program was canceled in 1991 and the A-6 Intruder was retired in 1997.7 Although the A-6 and the A-7 Corsair II performed superbly in attack roles, their range and payload were greater than anything the MQ-25 seems likely to demonstrate in the near future. Going back to the 1950s and ’60s, the A-3 Skywarrior and A-5 Vigilante evolved their focus on attack to emphasize refueling, electronic warfare, intelligence surveillance, and reconnaissance.

There are, however, incremental changes that could be made to the MQ-25 or a similar, follow-on platform and the associated concept of operations. Instead of pining for a stealthy, carrier-based unmanned aerial combat vehicle with long-range, capacity for heavy payloads of weapons and sensors, and greater maneuverability than modern fighter aircraft, the Navy should evolve the MQ-25 to complement—not replace—manned aircraft currently on the flight deck.

Multirole Carrier-Based Aircraft: A History

NATO Isn’t What It Says It Is

Grey Anderson and Thomas Meaney

NATO leaders convening this week in Vilnius, Lithuania, have every reason to toast their success.

Only four years ago, on the eve of another summit, the organization looked to be in low water; in the words of President Emmanuel Macron of France, it was undergoing nothing short of “brain death.” Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the situation has been transformed. As NATO plans to welcome Sweden into its ranks — Finland became a full-fledged member in April — and dispatch troops to reinforce its eastern flank, European Union allies are finally making good on long-deferred promises to increase military spending. Public opinion has followed suit. If Russia sought to divide Europe, President Biden could plausibly declare last spring that it had instead fully “NATO-ized” the continent.

This turnabout has understandably energized the alliance’s supporters. The statement of purpose from Jens Stoltenberg, its secretary general, that “the strength of NATO is the best possible tool we have to maintain peace and security” has never had more loyal adherents. Even critics of the organization — such as China hawks who see it as a distraction from the real threat in East Asia and restrainers who would prefer that Washington refocus on diplomatic solutions and problems at home — concede that NATO’s purpose is primarily the defense of Europe.

But NATO, from its origins, was never primarily concerned with aggregating military power. Fielding 100 divisions at its Cold War height, a small fraction of Warsaw Pact manpower, the organization could not be counted on to repel a Soviet invasion and even the continent’s nuclear weapons were under Washington’s control. Rather, it set out to bind Western Europe to a far vaster project of a U.S.-led world order, in which American protection served as a lever to obtain concessions on other issues, like trade and monetary policy. In that mission, it has proved remarkably successful.

Ukraine in NATO? My heart says yes. But my head says no.

The NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Tuesday and Wednesday will focus on the difficult question of whether Ukraine should be given an invitation to join the transatlantic alliance. My heart says yes, but my head says no.

There is undoubtedly a powerful case for admitting Ukraine capably laid out in a recent op-ed in the Hill by my friends Randy Scheunemann, who was John McCain’s chief foreign policy adviser, and Evelyn Farkas, who is executive director of the McCain Institute. There is little doubt that Ukraine has earned the moral right to be part of the Western alliance. Its heavy sacrifices, after all, are indirectly protecting NATO members from being menaced in the future by the Russian war machine. (The head of the British armed forces just said that Russia had lost half of its combat effectiveness in Ukraine, including as many as 2,500 tanks.)

There is also little doubt that NATO expansion has been a powerful force for peace and stability in Europe. The very reason Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is invading Ukraine — rather than Poland or the Baltic states, which were also once part of the Russian Empire — is that those other countries are in NATO and Ukraine is not. For all of Putin’s bravado, he does not want to risk a conflict that would trigger NATO’s Article 5 collective security guarantee, including the ultimate deterrent provided by the United States’ nuclear forces. It’s bunk to say, as Kremlin apologists do, that NATO expansion to Eastern Europe has caused Russian aggression. The illiberal nature of Putin’s regime accounts for its aggression — and the Kremlin would be a far greater threat if Putin knew he could attack more of Russia’s neighbors with impunity.

Yet there is deep and understandable reluctance among Western European states and the United States to admit Ukraine to NATO, because it is at war with Russia and will be for the foreseeable future. This isn’t a stable stalemate like the division of East and West Germany or North and South Korea. This is a dynamic, ongoing conflict that, if NATO were to take in Ukraine, could draw other members into a shooting war with a nuclear-armed Russia.

Opinion With the counteroffensive underway, 12 charts show the latest from Ukraine

Michael O’Hanlon, Constanze Stelzenmüller and David Wessel

Michael O’Hanlon is the Philip H. Knight chair in defense and strategy and director of the Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology at the Brookings Institution. Constanze Stelzenmüller is the director of the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings. David Wessel is the director of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at Brookings. The authors comment individually on the data that they and their Brookings Institution colleagues have gathered below.

Ukraine has begun its long-awaited counteroffensive after withstanding a months-long and ongoing battering from Russian missiles and drones. Nine new Ukrainian brigades, totaling perhaps 30,000 troops, with modern armored vehicles and well-trained soldiers (though little air power) are moving into action. But because Russia has prepared for them, they face uncertain prospects. Even the recent Putin-Prigozhin melodrama might not change the standoff substantially — though it is too soon to be sure how Wagner mercenaries will perform with their former leader on the ropes.

Russia’s economy has limped along better than expected, even as price caps on its oil and gas exports have limited the country’s revenue. Ukraine continues to have strong backing from most NATO countries and other like-minded states, including a steady supply of weaponry and financial and humanitarian aid. Russia has so far received military aid only from the likes of Iran and North Korea.

NATO is not yet ready to welcome Ukraine into the alliance. Much hinges on how the war proceeds over the next few months.

O’Hanlon: Ukraine’s territorial division by share of land mass remains only slightly changed since last fall. Sustained Russian attacks through the winter and spring around Bakhmut, in Ukraine’s east, yielded only modest gains for President Vladimir Putin; Ukraine’s counteroffensive to date has also had only modest effects. Russia still holds just over 17 percent of Ukraine, including the 7 percent (Crimea and eastern Donbas) that it stole from Kyiv’s control before its full-scale invasion began on Feb. 24 last year.

What Caused the Ukraine War?

Joseph S. Nye 

Russia's war in Ukraine is the most disruptive conflict that Europe has seen since 1945. While many in the West see a war of choice by Russian President Vladimir Putin, he says that NATO’s 2008 decision in favor of eventual Ukrainian membership brought an existential threat to Russia's borders, and still others trace the conflict back to the Cold War's end and the failure of the West to support Russia adequately after the collapse of the Soviet Union. How can we discern the origins of a war that may last for years?

World War I occurred over a century ago, yet historians still write books debating what caused it. Did it start because a Serbian terrorist assassinated an Austrian archduke in 1914, or did it have more to do with ascendant German power challenging Britain, or rising nationalism throughout Europe? The answer is "all of the above, plus more." But war was not inevitable until it actually broke out in August 1914; and even then, it was not inevitable that four years of carnage had to follow.

To sort things out, it helps to distinguish between deep, intermediate, and immediate causes. Think of building a bonfire: piling up the logs is a deep cause; adding kindling and paper is an intermediate cause; and striking a match is a precipitating cause. But even then, a bonfire is not inevitable. A strong wind may extinguish the match, or a sudden rainstorm may have soaked the wood. As historian Christopher Clark notes in his book about the origins of WWI, The Sleepwalkers, in 1914, "the future was still open — just." Poor policy choices were a crucial cause of the catastrophe.

In Ukraine, there is no question that Putin lit the match when he ordered Russian troops to invade on February 24. Like the leaders of the great powers in 1914, he probably believed that it would be a short, sharp war with a quick victory, somewhat like the Soviet Union's takeover of Budapest in 1956 or Prague in 1968. Airborne troops would capture the airport and advancing tanks would seize Kyiv, removing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and installing a puppet government.

The Unique Promise of Environmental Cooperation in the Gulf

Will Todman , Lubna Yousef , and Mennah Abdelwahab

Environmental dialogue in the Gulf holds unique promise to test the potential for greater regional cooperation amidst widespread distrust.*

Environmental issues have not been as politicized as other regional issues; they are a growing priority, and cooperation on them would not be zero sum.

Recent steps toward diplomatic normalization provide a ripe arena for exploration.

A dialogue on environmental issues would build trust and normalize diplomatic contact.

The United States should support regional environmental diplomacy indirectly.

It should signal its support for environmental collaboration to its Arab Gulf partners, leverage its climate know-how, and ensure that sanctions on Iran do not undermine opportunities to bolster regional stability.

*In this paper, “Gulf” refers to the eight states that border the Persian or Arabian Gulf (i.e., the six states that comprise the Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] plus Iraq and Iran). This paper is based on the authors’ remote interviews with 21 environmental experts from these eight countries, including academics, analysts, civil society activists, and former officials. Of all interviewees, 10 were women and 11 were men. The interviews were conducted in English and Arabic between May 7 and June 7, 2023. Some have been anonymized at the interviewees’ request.


Iran believes that microscopic particles of dust could be the key to ending its economic isolation. Iran will host a conference on sand and dust storms in collaboration with the United Nations in September 2023, and it is expecting representatives from over 50 countries.[1] Dust storms are an issue that all Middle Eastern states have an interest in tackling. The storms that travel across the region ground planes, hospitalize thousands, and cost an estimated $13 billion in GDP each year.[2] After a series of diplomatic normalization agreements with Arab Gulf states, Iran is hoping its neighbors will attend the conference.[3] Iranian vice president, Ali Salajegeh, recently said before the Friday prayer, “Environmental diplomacy is the precursor to political diplomacy.”[4]

Cluster Munitions: What Are They, and Why Is the United States Sending Them to Ukraine?

Mark F. Cancian

The United States has announced that it will send cluster munitions to Ukraine after weeks of internal debate and public speculation. Ukraine has asked for these munitions, which are highly effective against area targets such as infantry, artillery, and truck convoys. However, the munitions are controversial because of high dud rates and the resulting danger to civilians. The munitions will help Ukraine’s armed forces as they continue their counter-offensive, but they will not be a game changer.

Q1: What are cluster munitions?

A1: The international Convention on Cluster Munitions defines cluster munition as “a conventional munition that is designed to disperse or release explosive submunitions, each weighing less than 20 kilograms.” Thus, cluster munitions consist of a dispenser and submunitions loaded onto it. Submunitions are essentially grenades with tail fins or a streamer to help them land in the right orientation.

An unexploded cluster munition identified by members of the Mine Advisory Group in a backyard garden in Yohmor, Lebanon on August 21, 2006.

The dispenser releases the submunitions above the target, and the submunitions spread out as they fall. The submunitions explode when they hit the ground affecting a much larger area than a single, concentrated explosion. The picture below shows a dispenser that has stuck in the ground after dispersing its submunitions. The submunitions would be stacked in the rails.

Technology Primer: Post-Quantum Cryptography

Andrew Trzcinski, Sreya Vaidyanathan, Ariel Higuchi, Amritha Jayanti 

Cryptography is a ubiquitous technique that supports secure, private communications. In the digital age, conventional cryptography relies on hard mathematical problems to encrypt data; these mathematical problems are infeasible to solve with current computers. However, the rise of quantum computers, which have enhanced computational capabilities, poses a threat to conventional techniques by offering a path to efficiently solve these hard problems and breach encryption. In response, the field of post-quantum cryptography (PQC) has emerged to research and develop new cryptographic approaches that will allow for the secure transfer of information in the wake of quantum computers.

Although quantum computing is still in its nascent stages and the scaled, commercial viability of error-corrected quantum computers likely will not be reached for some time, experts widely recommend that migration of classical cryptographic standards to PQC must be understood as a time-critical undertaking, requiring present-day action by major industries and organizations. In fact, cyberthreats to encrypted data (that can be decrypted using quantum tools in the future) are already a concern.

To sustain the privacy and integrity of their data ecosystems, industries and their stakeholders are being urged to take proactive steps toward PQC migration, keeping in mind that it requires a complex, long-term, and potentially costly implementation process, with several cross-functional dependencies. The scope and pace of migration may vary based on the nature of the industries and architecture, the specific applications of classical cryptographic standards, and the varying degree of sensitivity of data within an organization.

To that end, PQC migration remains contingent on standardization and regulatory guidance issued by government agencies and policymakers. Standardization and regulation of PQC are already underway in many countries, with considerable public-private collaboration to solicit and evaluate quantum-resistant public-key algorithms.

Policymakers, security advisors, and other decision makers will need to consider which of their existing security protocols may be at risk and unsafe in the face of this threat to ensure the security of their critical systems, databases, and products in a post-quantum environment.

REPORT - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Nathan Drucker, Anushka Shah, Ariel HiguchiAmritha Jayanti 

The National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC) is intended to be the central hub for research and engineering within the semiconductor ecosystem. It operates under the Department of Commerce and has the mandate to “advance and enable disruptive innovation to provide U.S. leadership in the industries of the future.” The NSTC along with the National Advanced Packaging Manufacturing Program (NAPMP) has received $11 billion of the total $52 billion allocated in the CHIPS legislation. Recently, the Department of Commerce released a vision and strategy paper outlining three main goals for the NSTC:

1. Extend U.S. leadership in foundational technologies for future applications and industries and strengthen the U.S. semiconductor manufacturing ecosystem.

2. Reduce significantly the time and cost to prototype innovative ideas for member organizations.

3. Build and sustain a semiconductor workforce development ecosystem.

To achieve these objectives, the NSTC will prioritize "lab-to-fab" research, with a focus on a 5 to 15 year time frame. The shared facilities within the NSTC will prioritize flexibility over profitability. Unlike similar centers focused on national security for the Department of Defense (such as the Microelectronics Commons), the NSTC will concentrate on technologies for commercial development and involve various government agencies beyond the Department of Commerce.

The NSTC must develop new and innovative strategies for organizing semiconductor research and development (R&D). The $11 billion allocated to R&D by the CHIPS Act is a drop in the bucket of what many consider to be a required investment for meaningful semiconductor innovation. In this primer, we discuss key implementation strategies for the NSTC to achieve its first two goals (a separate primer on workforce development has been published, see below). We take note of strategic elements which have been raised by the NSTC vision paper, but also find opportunities to delve into the socioeconomic and geopolitical context of the CHIPS legislation, the infrastructure supporting the NSTC, and crucial business considerations for its success. Specifically, we highlight the potential benefits for smaller and medium-sized enterprises, which stand to gain the most from the NSTC.

Towards Digital Platforms and Public Purpose

My first job out of grad school was with the International editions of TIME as one of its fact-checkers. We were responsible for the accuracy of every name, date, fact and figure we published, a responsibility based on the premise that there was some shared understanding of what constituted “truth” and “proof” until new evidence emerged. In the years that followed I became a writer, then an editor, and ultimately editor-in-chief of TIME in 2013. I found myself leading a global newsroom through a time of momentous change—economic, political, technological, and epistemic. Print media was in decline, along with institutional trust more broadly; social media was on the rise, dividing audiences into parallel worlds of “alternative facts” in pursuit of power and profit. Every legacy newsroom wrestled with the ways technology was pushing us to rethink how we communicate information, engage with our audience, protect our writers and staff, and stay in business.

My co-chair, the late Secretary Ash Carter, who we sadly lost in October 2022, spent his career working to make America safer and more secure. When he took the Oath of Office as the United States’ 25th Secretary of Defense, he swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic. He shared stories with me of how emerging technologies required the Defense Department to be agile, encouraging him and his team to view the threat landscape differently. From countering foreign interference to monitoring radicalization through online mediums, how we could keep the world safe needed to acknowledge the transformational nature of the digital ecosystem.

Secretary Carter and I joined forces to launch Harvard Kennedy School’s Democracy and Internet Governance Initiative in 2021 because we both shared the perspective that digital platform governance is one of the great issues of our time. Today, our foreign and domestic enemies seek to weaken our democracy through the erosion of truth, the amplification of lies, and the weakening of the body politic. Our adversaries use our digital platforms to carry out their information operations; all too often, our platforms cannot, or will not, stop them. Additionally, there are limited mechanisms for consumer protection online, leaving individuals to deal with harassment, infringement of privacy, and exploitation.

The Blueprint for a New Government Agency

John Schultz, Dilnoza Satarova, Nishank Motwani, Rohan Chandra, Jacob Steckle 

Digital platforms have far-reaching consequences on society, amplifying harms like mental health crises, radicalization, and polarization. The Democracy and Internet Governance Initiative has conducted extensive research behind how these platforms contribute to such harms.[1] With the rapid emergence of new technologies like generative artificial intelligence, which could introduce further challenges to consumers, the need for decisive action has never been more urgent. This raises the question: how should society respond to these challenges?

Historical precedent demonstrates the effectiveness of self-regulation and proves that industries can successfully establish standards to guide the development of their products, under the right conditions. This is exemplified by the pharmaceutical industry’s formation of the United States Pharmacopeia in 1820.[2] However, for these standards to be effectively enforced and broadly adopted, government oversight is essential.[3]

This is because industry leaders face a dilemma. While leaders may be inclined to adopt standards that align with their values, and even collaborate with competitors to reduce their impact on society, they may be concerned that adhering to such standards could diminish their platform’s competitiveness. To overcome this challenge, leaders require assurance that their competitors will also comply with agreed-upon standards before committing to them. This is where the role of a government watchdog becomes indispensable. By enforcing industry standards and imposing penalties on those who deviate from agreed-upon norms, the government can instill trust and confidence in the system. This ensures that all participants have faith in the fairness and integrity of the regulatory framework, promoting a level playing field and encouraging widespread adoption of responsible practices throughout the digital services industry.

Rethinking Democracy for the Age of AI

Bruce Schneier

We need to recreate our system of governance for an era in which transformative technologies pose catastrophic risks as well as great promise.

This text is the transcript from a keynote speech delivered during the RSA Conference in San Francisco on April 25, 2023.

There is a lot written about technology’s threats to democracy. Polarization. Artificial intelligence. The concentration of wealth and power. I have a more general story: The political and economic systems of governance that were created in the mid-18th century are poorly suited for the 21st century. They don’t align incentives well. And they are being hacked too effectively.

At the same time, the cost of these hacked systems has never been greater, across all human history. We have become too powerful as a species. And our systems cannot keep up with fast-changing disruptive technologies.

We need to create new systems of governance that align incentives and are resilient against hacking … at every scale. From the individual all the way up to the whole of society.

For this, I need you to drop your 20th century either/or thinking. This is not about capitalism versus communism. It’s not about democracy versus autocracy. It’s not even about humans versus AI. It’s something new, something we don’t have a name for yet. And it’s “blue sky” thinking, not even remotely considering what’s feasible today.

Throughout this talk, I want you to think of both democracy and capitalism as information systems. Socio-technical information systems. Protocols for making group decisions. Ones where different players have different incentives. These systems are vulnerable to hacking and need to be secured against those hacks.

We security technologists have a lot of expertise in both secure system design and hacking. That’s why we have something to add to this discussion.

Attacking Artificial Intelligence: AI’s Security Vulnerability and What Policymakers Can Do About It

Marcus Comiter

The methods underpinning the state-of-the-art artificial intelligence systems are systematically vulnerable to a new type of cybersecurity attack called an “artificial intelligence attack.” Using this attack, adversaries can manipulate these systems in order to alter their behavior to serve a malicious end goal. As artificial intelligence systems are further integrated into critical components of society, these artificial intelligence attacks represent an emerging and systematic vulnerability with the potential to have significant effects on the security of the country.

These “AI attacks” are fundamentally different from traditional cyberattacks.

Unlike traditional cyberattacks that are caused by “bugs” or human mistakes in code, AI attacks are enabled by inherent limitations in the underlying AI algorithms that currently cannot be fixed. Further, AI attacks fundamentally expand the set of entities that can be used to execute cyberattacks. For the first time, physical objects can be now used for cyberattacks (e.g., an AI attack can transform a stop sign into a green light in the eyes of a self-driving car by simply placing a few pieces of tape on the stop sign itself). Data can also be weaponized in new ways using these attacks, requiring changes in the way data is collected, stored, and used.

Critical parts of society are already vulnerable.

There are five areas most immediately affected by artificial intelligence attacks: content filters, the military, law enforcement, traditionally human-based tasks being replaced by AI, and civil society. These areas are attractive targets for attack, and are growing more vulnerable due to their increasing adoption of artificial intelligence for critical tasks.

This report proposes “AI Security Compliance” programs to protect against AI attacks.

‘Network-centric’ security ‘killing us’ on JADC2 initiatives: USAF general


WASHINGTON — While the Air Force tries to ramp up its contribution to the Pentagon’s Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) initiative, a key official warned Monday that the US military’s “network-centric view of security is killing us.

“Our ability to push data in the places and to the people that need to get it right now is confined by whether or not you’re on a network that allows me to talk to you. My ability to scale from an ABMS perspective is significantly constrained by that fact,” Brig Gen. Luke Cropsey, the Air Force’s integrating program executive officer for Command, Control, Communications and Battle Management (C3BM), said during a discussion hosted by the Air & Space Forces Association when asked how the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) considers allies and partners.

To broaden JADC2 capabilities, Cropsey said he needs new tools to enable better data transfer, ones he cautioned would not materialize in a “silver bullet” solution.

“Until I get to a good identity management system that’s coupled in with a good zero trust capability that allows me to start to get to network-agnostic data flows, our ability to integrate both across services and with partners is going to continue to be challenged,” he said. Translated, he means operators need a simple and secure way to share data with whomever they want.

The Air Force recently overhauled its ABMS effort, and it’s now subsumed under what’s called the Department of the Air Force Battle Network. But ABMS is still continuing to develop the digital infrastructure that would enable various Battle Network efforts to plug into cloud-based command-and-control.

Though the data-sharing challenges remain, Cropsey said officials aren’t “waiting for the system to go figure that part of it out,” and are instead working within existing structures “to accommodate those things when and where we need to in order to get the mission done.”

Managing Existential Risk from AI without Undercutting Innovation

Michael Frank

It is uncontroversial that the extinction of humanity is worth taking seriously. Perhaps that is why hundreds of (artificial intelligence) AI researchers and thought leaders signed on to the following statement: “Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.” The Statement on AI Risk and the collective gravitas of its signatories has demanded the attention of leaders around the world for regulating AI—in particular, generative AI systems like OpenAI’s ChatGPT. The most advanced AI regulatory effort is the European Union, whose parliament recently passed its version of the Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act). The AI Act’s proponents have suggested that rather than extinction, discrimination is the greater threat. To that end, the AI Act is primarily an exercise in risk classification, through which European policymakers are judging applications of AI as high-, limited-, or minimal-risk, while also banning certain applications they deem unacceptable, such as cognitive behavioral manipulation; social scoring based on behavior, socioeconomic status or personal characteristics; and real-time biometric identification from law enforcement. The AI Act also includes regulatory oversight of “high-risk” applications like biometric identification in the private sector and management of critical infrastructure, while also providing oversight on relevant education and vocational training. It is a comprehensive package, which is also its main weakness: classifying risk through cross-sectoral legislation will do little to address existential risk or AI catastrophes while also limiting the ability to harness the benefits of AI, which have the potential to be equally astonishing. What is needed is an alternative regulatory approach that addresses the big risks without sacrificing those benefits.

Given the rapidly changing state of the technology and the nascent but extremely promising AI opportunity, policymakers should embrace a regulatory structure that balances innovation and opportunity with risk. While the European Union does not neglect innovation entirely, the risk-focused approach of the AI Act is incomplete. By contrast, the U.S. Congress appears headed toward such a balance. On June 21, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer gave a speech at CSIS in which he announced his SAFE Innovation Framework for AI. In introducing the framework, he stated that “innovation must be our North Star,” indicating that while new AI regulation is almost certainly coming, Schumer and his bipartisan group of senators are committed to preserving innovation. In announcing the SAFE Innovation Framework, he identified four goals (paraphrased below) that forthcoming AI legislation should achieve:Security: instilling guardrails to protect the U.S. against bad actors’ use of AI, while also preserving American economic security by preparing for, managing, and mitigating workforce disruption.

Critical Minerals Trade and the Green Energy Transition

Kristin Vekasi

New technologies and new economic demands bring new resource requirements. This is especially true of the green energy transition, where the rush to meet rising demand for critical minerals is made more urgent by the challenges of global climate change. Exploiting new resources for emerging technologies has often led to adverse outcomes for the local communities and the environment in which those resources are found. This proved the case for coal, oil, and the raw materials—including some critical minerals—that powered Silicon Valley and the computing revolution. However, as the world rapidly scales up technologies for the green energy transition, there is an opportunity to adopt better practices for processing, refining, and using critical minerals.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum provides an ideal opportunity to promote shared standards across borders for critical mineral exploitation. APEC members are in a unique position to bring together many of the existing discussions of improved standards and resiliency. As a group, APEC countries control most of the global supply chain for critical minerals—from mining to processing to end use—and they account for approximately 70% of global mining and almost 80% of global processing and refining capacity.[1] For some minerals critical to the green energy transition, that number is even higher. APEC members hold the market power, expertise, and institutional architecture to shape new rules for mineral extraction, processing, manufacture, and trade.

For example, consider six minerals key to permanent magnets and advanced batteries: copper, nickel, lithium, rare earths, graphite, and cobalt. These minerals are essential ingredients in electric vehicles and energy storage.[2] APEC members play an important role in the supply chains of all these minerals—more than 90% of global lithium and rare earths are mined and processed in APEC countries, as well as over 70% of copper, natural graphite, and nickel.[3] While only 20% of cobalt is mined in APEC countries, a large percentage of mines are owned by companies headquartered in APEC members, particularly China.[4] Moreover, even for minerals such as cobalt that are mostly mined outside APEC countries, the refining and processing largely takes place in China. According to the International Energy Association, in 2020, China processed approximately 90% of rare earths, 65% of cobalt, 60% of lithium, and 35% of nickel.[5] In addition to centrality in production networks, APEC members are also some of the primary consumers of the end products of these materials, including electric vehicles. Whichever way one looks at the data, it is clear that APEC member economies play a market-defining role.