24 July 2023

India And The US: A Partnership Of Geopolitical Balance – Analysis

Matija Šerić

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to the USA at the end of June provided an opportunity for the two countries to strengthen their relations at a time of growing geopolitical tensions.

On the one hand, there are the usual US tensions with Russia and China over the Ukraine crisis, the Taiwan issue and the US-China trade war. On the other hand, there are tensions between India and China. This was Modi’s fifth visit to the US since serving as prime minister since 2014, but his first with the diplomatic status of a state visit. “State visit” is the label used in the US to denote a visit by a foreign statesman of the highest rank. Modi is only the third statesman to receive this honor during Biden’s tenure.

For the distinguished guest, the US army fired honor platoons, an orchestra played and an honor guard lined up, and later a gala dinner followed at the White House. Without a doubt, the visit represents a significant diplomatic recognition for Modi, especially considering that he was once denied a visa to the US due to his “controversial” role in the religious riots in Gujarat in 2002. Addressing the US Congress, the Indian leader sent a very important message that the two nations want to cooperate. He addressed the message not only to politicians but also to businessmen.

Both leaders emphasized that technology will be the cornerstone of the US-India partnership. In addition to his appearance in Congress, Modi held a meeting with Biden in the Oval Office, attended a gala dinner at the White House, visited the State Department, addressed a group of young entrepreneurs at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, etc.
Historical context

These moves cannot be observed without insight into the historical context. In the past, Americans have often said that Pakistan is an American ally but not a friend, while India is an American friend but not an ally. During the Cold War, the world’s oldest and largest democracy were not on very good terms. America’s preference for anti-communist regimes led Washington to establish warm relations with Muslim Pakistan, where Islamists were in power.

How Ukraine Can Avoid Afghanistan’s Aid Sinkhole

Lynne O’Donnell

Samantha Power, the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), went to Kyiv this week to hand over another tranche of American aid to help rebuild Ukraine as Russia’s aggression continues to take a terrible toll on its people and infrastructure. The latest batch of American assistance totaled more than $500 million, mainly to help civilian victims of the war—and there were fresh ones almost immediately, as Russia scuppered a deal to let Ukraine export grain and then bombed its biggest port for good measure.

China, Afghanistan, and the Allure of ‘Green Mineral Development’ ANALYSIS

Saleem H. Ali Thomas Hale

BOTTOM LINEChinese firms are inching closer to billions of dollars worth of deals in Afghanistan in search of natural resources just two years after the United States exited from the war-ravaged country.

Critical minerals should be sourced from areas where it is both ecologically efficient (extraction with less environmental footprint with higher grade ores) and economically efficient (with greater benefits for communities and business minus costs).

The United States might consider this an opportunity to engage with the Taliban as it did in the 1990s when oil and gas development prospects created a window of engagement despite sanctions.

There is a growing consensus that the “green transition” or “clean energy transition” to low-carbon technologies will require a range of minerals (“green minerals”). As the lightest metal on the periodic table, lithium has certain unique properties which make it very suitable as a metal for batteries needed for the green transition. A Chinese company has recently expressed interest in investing $10 billion in Afghanistan’s lithium resources in the south, according to the Taliban-run Ministry of Mines and Petroleum. Another Chinese firm has been awarded with an oil and gas exploration license in the north.

The Taliban claims the lithium deal would generate up to 120,000 direct and many more indirect jobs in the country as it faces a severe humanitarian crisis and continuing international sanctions. As part of the deal, the Chinese firm has also promised to invest in new infrastructure projects in Afghanistan.

China is already involved in a fourteen-year deal to extract copper from the Mes Aynak copper mine in Logar province, one of the world’s largest copper reserves. The Chinese state-owned Metallurgical Group signed the deal with the Afghan government in 2007. This project is yet to begin because of years of security issues, logistical challenges, and contract renegotiations.

High-level Visits Increase Ahead of Nepali PM Dahal’s Visit to China

Santosh Sharma Poudel

Nepal-China Friendship Dragon Boat Festival, Pokhara, Nepal, June 24, 2023.Credit: Twitter/ Nepal Tourism Board

High-level visits between Nepal and China have grown in frequency recently. In the last few months, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha, Minister for Commerce and Industry Ramesh Rijal, Chairman of National Assembly Ganesh Timalsina, and former Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota have visited China. Meanwhile, delegations led by the Communist Party of China (CPC)’s Sichuan Province Secretary Wang Xiaohui and the International Department Liaison Office’s Du Wenlong CPC visited Nepal.

The visits represent a natural increase in foreign visits to or from China, after Beijing lifted its COVID-19 restrictions. The visits are also vital to prepare for Nepali Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s upcoming visit to Beijing. Additionally, the visits, especially by the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Centre (CPN-MC) leaders, are meant to signal to China that the government led by Dahal prioritizes China too, even as he has been busy engaging the Southern neighbor, India, and visiting New Delhi earlier last month.

The visits reflect increasing Chinese political, economic, and strategic engagement in Nepal and Nepal’s attempt to establish closer working relations with China at government-to-government and party-to-party levels.

Despite repeated assurances from Nepal that the country will not do anything against the legitimate interests of its neighbors or allow its territory to be used against the neighbors, China is insecure and has a trust deficit in Nepali leadership to protect Chinese interests in Nepal.

First, Beijing invited Dahal to visit China at the end of March to attend the Boao Forum, an annual international conference. However, Dahal declined the invitation because he wanted to make New Delhi his first foreign visit destination. Although there was a rationale behind Dahal’s decision, Beijing felt slighted. After his Delhi visit, when Dahal expressed interest in visiting Beijing as soon as possible, the latter responded unenthusiastically. The visit is expected to happen at the end of August or early September.

Ukraine’s Delicate Balancing Act With China


For Ukrainian officials, China’s diplomatic statements about Russia’s war of aggression are often hard to understand and filled with contradictions. On the one hand, Beijing proclaims to be neutral. Indeed, it has refrained from providing direct military support to Russia and from recognizing its illegal annexation of parts of Ukraine’s territory. On the other hand, China’s purchases of Russian energy and supplies of key technologies have provided Moscow a vital economic lifeline amid Western sanctions.

To date, President Volodymyr Zelensky has followed a careful course in navigating this challenging dynamic. He has sought direct dialogue with President Xi Jinping and expressed openness to China’s peace proposals. At the same time, Zelensky is clear that he will not sacrifice Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.


In April, Zelensky and Xi spoke by phone for the first time since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022. Zelensky agreed to welcome Xi’s envoy, Li Hui, to Ukraine as part of his European tour promoting China’s twelve-point peace plan. This vague document is hardly a roadmap to a peace rooted in justice, international law, and respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. For one thing, it omits any demand for Russia to withdraw its troops while criticizing the use of “unilateral sanctions.”

Maksym Skrypchenko is the president of the Kyiv-based Transatlantic Dialogue Center.

There is little expectation in Kyiv that China’s mediation efforts will amount to much, but Zelensky was smart not to have rejected the offer outright. Instead, he expressed optimism that Beijing could use its influence to “restore the strength of the principles and rules on which peace should be based.” He used China’s unveiling of its plan and Li’s visit to Ukraine in May to call for face-to-face negotiations with Xi. Zelensky’s past success in using personal diplomacy to persuade reluctant counterparts to support Ukrainian positions apparently has fortified his belief that he can do the same with Xi. At a minimum, keeping China invested in seeking a solution is far better than the alternative in which it offers economic and material support to Russia.

Xi hails ‘old friend’ Kissinger during meeting that harks back to an era of warmer ties

Nectar Gan

Chinese leader Xi Jinping hailed Henry Kissinger as an “old friend” during a meeting with the 100-year-old former US Secretary of State who is in Beijing this week for a surprise visit.

Xi met Kissinger at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, a diplomatic complex in western Beijing where Kissinger was received during his first visit to China in 1971, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

Since then, Kissinger has visited China more than 100 times, Xi noted in the meeting.

In July 1971, Kissinger became the first high-ranking US official to visit Communist China. His secret meetings with Chinese leaders paved the way for then US President Richard Nixon’s “ice-breaking” trip the following year.

In the decades that followed, US-China ties blossomed alongside their economic interdependence. But in more recent years the relationship between the world’s two largest economies has deteriorated markedly.

For Xi, Kissinger’s presence was a reminder of less rocky times.

“We never forget our old friends, and will never forget your historic contribution to the development of China-US relations and the enhancement of friendship between the two peoples,” Xi told Kissinger.

“China and the United States are once again at the crossroads of where to go, and the two sides need to make a choice again,” he said, urging Kissinger and like-minded Americans to “continue to play a constructive role in bringing China-US relations back to the right track.”

Kissinger replied that it is a “great honor” to visit China, and thanked Xi for choosing to meet him in the same building where he met Chinese leaders for the first time, according to CCTV.

Geography, Bureaucracy, and National Security: The New

Nikolas K. Gvosdev Derek S. Reveron 

BOTTOM LINETranslating broad strategic guidance into workable strategies and sustainable policies requires both an assessment of the international security environment as well as an analysis of what the domestic political system will permit. National interests are not enough to guide foreign policy.

The current bureaucratic/geographic organization of the US national security apparatus is not going to be torn down and replaced with a fresh blueprint. Instead, US national security must be executed through existing authorities and structures, but Americans should reconceptualize how they perceive geography, bureaucracy, and national security.

Reducing conceptual national security boundaries from eleven combatant commands and eight Department of State regional bureaus to three yields: trans-Atlantic, trans-Pacific, and trans-Indian regions. Without creating new organizations, this oceanic lens can harmonize existing authorities and organizations since most international trade moves by sea, the global Internet is connected by undersea cables, and Chinese expansionism is through the seas.

In concluding part I of this study, we quoted then-Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger, who observed that the setup of the US national security system made sense “when most conflicts were regional” in scope and nature. But as we move into the mid-twenty-first century, the United States faces the global challenge of the People’s Republic of China, whose ability to contest America and its allies are not confined to a single geographic region. China has the capability to operate outside of its region and can contest freedom in global domains such as space and cyberspace. In spite of this, the United States still sees national security problems in disaggregated ways that are addressed through a distinctly geographic lens—Russia as a European problem or China as an Indo-Pacific issue through existing Department of Defense combatant commands and Department of State regional bureaus. This is conceptually limiting.

Iran Is Breaking Out of Its Box

Jamsheed K. Choksy and Carol E. B. Choksy

In April, startling pictures emerged from Beijing of Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and his Saudi counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud, grinning and clasping hands with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang. Relations between Sunni-controlled Saudi Arabia and Shiite-dominated Iran had been bitter for decades. But over the last five months, this long-standing hostility has been upended. Iran and Saudi Arabia have restored a security-cooperation agreement, reestablished commercial flight links, and unfrozen bilateral commerce. On June 6, seven years after its closure, Iran’s embassy in Riyadh reopened.

Tehran has not just accelerated rapprochement with Saudi Arabia. It has embarked on a charm offensive across the Arab world, seeking to reestablish diplomatic ties and economic influence in Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and elsewhere. Iran sees an opening to take advantage of the United States’ confused and diminished ambitions in the Middle East, and its moves are contributing to the further displacement of the United States there.

To accomplish this reset, Tehran has pivoted toward a less ideological, more pragmatic, regional foreign policy. But Western and Arab countries should approach this shift with skepticism. Nothing in Iran’s politics indicates that it intends to be a good neighbor in the long run. And much evidence suggests that it aims to reclaim its role as a revisionist, revolutionary force, intent on securing regional hegemony. For Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Middle East, compromise with Iran is a big gamble. For the West, it could be a calamity.


During his 37 years in power, Iran’s last shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, transformed his country into the reigning Muslim power in the Middle East. Backed by Washington and armed with the best of American munitions, Iran dominated its Arab neighbors—even those, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which also benefited from U.S. protections. After the 1978–79 Islamic Revolution, however, Iran’s standing deteriorated rapidly.

The Conflict in Yemen Is More Than a Proxy War

Ahmed Nagi

The eight-year civil war in Yemen has created what has been called the world’s worst manmade humanitarian crisis. Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis have been killed and some four million people displaced. According to the United Nations, 21.6 million people in the country require humanitarian assistance and 80 percent of the population struggles to put food on the table. Given the extent of the catastrophe, it is perhaps no surprise that observers rejoiced when the Saudi ambassador to Yemen, Mohammed Al-Jaber, shook hands with leaders of the Houthi rebel group, which is allied with Iran, in April. It appeared to be a breakthrough in a devastating, unending conflict.

Both Iran and Saudi Arabia have been active in Yemen, taking opposite sides in the war. The Saudis sent their forces into the country as part of a coalition effort in 2015 after their ally, interim Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, was deposed by the Houthis. The Iranian government has thrown its support behind the Houthis, fellow Shiites who control swaths of northern Yemen and want to expand their control to encompass the rest of the country.

Unwinding this complex proxy war has been nearly impossible, which is why the April talks offered so much hope. Hans Grundberg, the UN special envoy for Yemen, declared the meeting between the Saudis and the Houthi rebels “the closest Yemen has been to real progress toward lasting peace” since the war began. The breakthrough can be traced in large part to a sudden shift on the Saudi side. Riyadh backed a UN-brokered truce in April 2022, which has largely held even after formally lapsing in October. A period of relative calm on the Saudi border enabled serious negotiations. The Saudi delegation’s April visit to Sanaa, and an Omani-backed mediation effort that preceded it, showcased Riyadh’s determination to abandon its military campaign and seek a way out of the war. A Beijing-brokered agreement between Tehran and Riyadh in April restored diplomatic relations between the two countries and reinforced this new approach.

Yet a negotiated Saudi withdrawal from Yemen will almost certainly not end the war. It will merely return the country to an earlier stage of the conflict, which was local in origin and which was exacerbated by the involvement of regional powers. What unites most of Yemen’s factions is that they have gained power through coercive means. Unfortunately, these parties tend to view proposals for dialogue as mere tactical moves by their opponents that are designed to achieve military advantage.

The Eco Collapse We Were Warned About Has Begun – OpEd

José Seoane

In 2023, different climatic anomalies have been recorded that set new historical records in the tragic progression of climate change at the global level.

Thus, in June, the surface temperature in the North Atlantic reached the maximum increase of 1.3 degrees Celsius with respect to preindustrial values. In a similar direction—although in lower values—the average temperature of the seas at the global level increased. On the other hand, the retraction of Antarctic ice reached a new limit, reaching the historical decrease of 2016, but several months earlier in the middle of the cold season.

The combination of these records has led scientists who follow these processes to warn of the danger of a profound change in the currents that regulate temperature and life in the oceans and globally. The heat waves recorded on the coasts of a large part of the world—in Ireland, Mexico, Ecuador, Japan, Mauritania, and Iceland—may, in turn, be proof of this.

These phenomena, of course, are not limited to the seas. On Thursday, July 6, the global air temperature (measured at two meters above the ground) reached 17.23 degrees Celsius for the first time in the history of the last centuries, 1.68 degrees Celsius higher than preindustrial values; last June was already the warmest month in history. Meanwhile, temperatures on the continents, particularly in the North, also broke records: 40 degrees Celsius in Siberia, 50 degrees Celsius in Mexico, the warmest June in England in the historical series that began in 1884.

And its counterpart, droughts, such as the one plaguing Uruguay, where the shortage of fresh water since May has forced the increasing use of brackish water sources, making tap water undrinkable for the inhabitants of the Montevideo metropolitan area, where 60 percent of the country’s population is concentrated. This is a drought that, if it continues, could leave this region of the country without drinking water, making it the first city in the world to suffer such a catastrophe.

US military tests new smartphone app that could help shoot down drones


Special task forces under U.S. Central Command tested a new smartphone app this week that could help the U.S. military crowdsource efforts to defeat enemy unmanned aerial systems.

The tool, known as CARPE Dronvm, was put through its paces at McEntire Joint National Guard Base and Poinsett Range in South Carolina, according to a Defense Department release.

The technology pursuit is being spearheaded by U.S. Air Forces Central’s Task Force 99 and U.S. Army Central’s Task Force 39, which — along with Naval Forces Central’s Task Force 59 — are experimenting with cutting-edge tech to address operational challenges facing American troops in the Middle East and elsewhere.

U.S. forces and those of its allies and partners have come under attack from drones, and they are looking for new capabilities to counter them.

The new smartphone app was developed by MITRE Corp. with Pentagon funding. Troops can use it to take photos of drones they spot and then feed that information to air defense centers that could task weapons to shoot down the unmanned aerial systems. The concept is similar to Ukraine’s ePPO initiative that’s been used to defeat Russian drones.

“What the Ukrainians did, they built a cellphone application … that basically helps the Ukrainian military identify aerial threats. Where the citizens with a cell phone can take a picture of a UAS, a missile, [or] whatever is flying, and transmit data back to an operational center to help augment, you know, kind of radar data they may be collecting there at the Ukrainian level. So that’s kind of the concept,” Col. Ryan Stamatis, the commander of ARCENT’s Task Force 39, told DefenseScoop in an interview earlier this year.

“We’ve taken the application to ARCENT and continue to refine it and experiment with that,” he said. The ultimate aim is to “help operationalize that in a broader way across the theater, within the military and beyond.”

Power grid under threat from foreign adversaries, domestic extremists, warn experts


Energy infrastructure experts testified that the U.S. power grid is facing escalating cybersecurity risks and emerging threats from foreign adversaries and domestic extremists.

The latest annual threat assessment out of the U.S. Intelligence community identified Chinese cyber operations against the U.S. homeland as a major national security threat and warns that Beijing is "almost certainly capable of launching cyber attacks that could disrupt critical infrastructure services" nationwide, including the power grid.

Meanwhile, domestic extremists have been charged in recent months with plotting to attack energy facilities and power grids across the country, as part of an apparent effort to promote white supremacist ideologies.

Bruce Walker, former assistant secretary for the Energy Department’s Office of Electricity, told the House Energy & Commerce subcommittee on oversight and investigations on Tuesday that “the most important evolving threat to the electric grid is associated with cybersecurity and physical security” while calling for further collaboration between the public and private sectors.

“We must approach this problem differently,” Walker said. “We must transition to an all-of-society approach that, among other things, appropriately uses federal capabilities to protect the grid.”

The U.S. relies on critical components from China and other foreign countries to build large power transformers that help supply electricity to the national power grid.

Power transformers and new power grid technologies are susceptible to disruption from physical attacks, as well as increasingly advanced cyber risks that can potentially threaten the entire electrical network.

The Pentagon is the wrong agency to lead the new US deterrence strategy


The United States faces a fundamental deterrence problem in Taiwan. In a recent poll of more than 2,500 U.S. adults, fewer than half said they would support a direct U.S. military intervention if China invades the self-governing island. Yet to be successful, deterrence requires one’s adversary to perceive that one has both the capability and the will to carry out their threats.

There are already questions about whether U.S. forces are equipped to defend and, if necessary, take back Taiwan. Recent well-publicized wargames have found that a U.S. victory would cost tens of lost ships, hundreds of lost aircraft, and thousands of lost U.S. servicemember lives in a matter of weeks. This may give Chinese President Xi Jinping reason to believe that America's will to come to Taiwan’s defense may be lacking—if not during the tenure of President Joe Biden, who has on multiple occasions said the U.S. would intervene militarily on Taiwan’s behalf, then perhaps as soon as his successor comes to office.

The U.S. has a variety of instruments of power available for deterrence, including expansive diplomatic connections, alliance networks, and economic and financial carrots and sticks. As such, the apparent solution to the U.S. credibility problem is the Defense Department-led concept of integrated deterrence: “the seamless combination of capabilities to convince potential adversaries that the costs of their hostile activities outweigh their benefits” via integration of efforts “across domains,” “across regions,” “across the spectrum of conflict,” “across the U.S. government,” and “with allies and partners.”

But if deterrence requires coordination across the governments of allies and partners—many of which are not interested in a fight with China—then placing the organization tasked primarily with preparing for a fight with China in the lead sends the wrong message. It also casts U.S.-China competition in a more antagonistic light than may be necessary and underemphasizes critical non-military instruments of power.

Hammer time

What Impact has Prigozhin’s Mutiny really had on Putin?


John E. McLaughlin is the Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) where he teaches a variety of courses and conducts research.

McLaughlin served as Acting Director of Central Intelligence from July to September 2004 and as Deputy Director of Central Intelligence from October 2000 to July 2004. He was a US Army Officer in the 1960s, with service in Vietnam. He comments on foreign affairs in various media, testifies in Congress, and writes frequently on intelligence and foreign affairs in a variety of publications.

CIPHER BRIEF EXPERT VIEW — Much debate is now underway about whether Russian president Vladimir Putin will sustain lasting political damage from the June 24 revolt led by Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Some analysts cautiously hint that Putin is hurt badly, many say not much, and most say it’s just too soon to tell.

To be sure, there is much we don’t know, and predicting anything in Russia is perilous business — but my long-held view is that the war from the very beginning, unleashed trends likely to loosen Putin’s grip on power. Exactly how, when and whether this happens, will be affected by many things including fortunes in the war, the condition of the Russian economy, and what support he can maintain from partners such as China. But assuming the continued deterioration that I expect, the key questions are how long it will take and what form it will take over time – an easing out or ouster, a resignation, or perhaps most likely, a weakened and ineffective leader clinging to power in a drained and dispirited nation that lacks both the power and influence it had earlier in Putin’s tenure.

The backdrop of course, is the rebellion launched on June 24 by Prigozhin. The Wagner leader briefly took over Russia’s war command headquarters at Rostov-on-Don and moved his forces to within 120 miles of Moscow. Prigozhin’s message was as important as his actions; he charged that corrupt, ambitious politicians and generals were sending young Russians to die in a war with the false rationale that Ukraine and NATO were threatening Russia.



By February 1942, the 74 men of Station Cast on the Philippine island of Corregidor had become some of the most important sailors in the U.S. Navy. These radio operators, linguists, and cryptanalysts were eavesdropping on enemy radio transmissions and had made steady progress deciphering the Japanese naval code. The U.S. military hoped this top-secret project would soon give the United States advance notice of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s plans.

Station Cast’s problem was its location. The Japanese had invaded the Philippines two months earlier and were pushing the American and Filipino defenders back toward a last-ditch stand on the Bataan peninsula on the island of Luzon. Corregidor, a small fortified island in Manila Bay, lay only two miles off Bataan. If Bataan fell, which seemed inevitable, Corregidor would soon follow.

The navy couldn’t let Station Cast’s personnel fall into enemy hands. The Japanese knew what these men were doing and would torture them to learn American codebreaking secrets. If that happened, the enemy would change its codes, and that would force the navy to start the tedious, time-consuming process of figuring out the enemy ciphers from the beginning.

Evacuating the sailors posed monumental challenges. The Japanese had clamped a tight naval and air blockade on Bataan and Corregidor, making rescue by airplane or surface ship next to impossible. Submarines offered the only alternative, but they would have to dodge Japanese destroyers on the lookout for them.

Microsoft Poised to Deliver Improved Combat Goggles, US Army Says Delivery by July 31 would start three rounds of soldier tests

Anthony Capaccio

Microsoft Corp. is on track to deliver an improved version of its combat goggles by July 31 for intensive soldier testing that will help the US Army decide whether to deploy the devices by 2025 or cancel the troubled program, according to the service.

After delivery, the first 20 prototype IVAS 1.2 goggles will be assessed by two squads of solders in late August to check for improvements in reliability, low-light performance and how well they fit soldiers without repeats of the nausea and dizziness that halted the deployment of earlier versions. Microsoft said in a statement that the deliveries will be three months ahead of schedule.

“This initial assessment measures system performance to ensure engineering efforts are on schedule and meeting design objectives,” the Army said. A decision to deploy the military version would unlock billions of dollars for procurement that Congress has become unwilling to free up pending improvements to the device, which is based on the company’s HoloLens “mixed reality” goggles.

Over a decade, the Army projects spending as much as $21.9 billion for as many as 121,000 devices, spares and support services if all options are exercised. If the initial assessment is a success, the Army will award a contract between July and September of next year to produce additional devices for a second soldier evaluation.

Success there would be followed by a full-blown combat operational test between April and June 2025, determining whether the goggles would be deployed to combat units within months.

Automated Howitzers – Pros and Cons

Tzvi Koretzki

It has been reported that Ukrainian artillery units will receive two fully automated self-propelled howitzers – the RCH made by KMW (Germany), and the Archer system from BAE (Sweden). Automated artillery systems have been a logical next step from the semi-automated systems built during or in the immediate aftermath, of the Cold War. They should be every Gunner’s dream, but are they the optimal solution for today’s strike and close support needs?

Let’s methodically examine the issue:Analyse the systems’ capabilities.
Analyse the operational needs these systems must meet.
Describe the challenges when using automatic howitzers.
Reach conclusions in light of the previous three stages.

I hope that this article will serve as a basis for discussion about the systems’ technical and operational requirements.

Before we jump into the analysis, it is worth adding some context to these two systems. There is limited real world experience of fully automated artillery systems deployed on operations. Panzerhaubitze 2000 – which uses a similar gun system to the RCH version – deployed in a limited role in Afghanistan but has been gifted to Ukraine, where it has recieved some negative criticism, most notably around the complexity of the turret and that it is very susceptible to water and dirt interfering with the turret – we might assume that the more complex RCH fully automatic turret will be even more prone to these issues.

Giving Ukraine Cluster Munitions is Necessary, Legal and Morally Justified

Dr Jack Watling and Professor Justin Bronk

Cluster munitions would be valuable in breaking through Russian trenches, while the threat to civilians is negligible amid Russia’s mass emplacement of unmarked minefields.

The news that the US will provide Ukraine with cluster munitions has sparked a flurry of objections from campaign groups. Many of the objections demonstrate a lack of understanding as to the context of how these weapons will be employed if provided to the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU). The military utility of these munitions to Ukraine is clear, while their use renders the foremost objections irrelevant. Given that the US military has consistently advised the Biden administration to send these weapons – and that there has been no significant change to the circumstances on the ground – the real question is why dual-purpose improved conventional munition (DPICM) rounds were not provided to Ukraine in time to make a difference to the current offensive.

The Military Context

Ukraine is currently undertaking a major offensive, seeking to break through three successive lines of Russian defences to liberate occupied Ukrainian territory. To do this, the AFU must fight their way through over 30 kilometres of complex, unmarked minefields, across tank obstacles, and into extensive trench lines, covered by Russian UAVs, artillery and helicopters. Progress is critical to preventing Russia from indefinitely protracting the conflict. Therefore, there is a direct correlation between enabling Ukraine to succeed on the battlefield now, and creating the necessary preconditions for a viable peace.

To break the defence line, Ukrainian artillery is critical for suppressing Russian indirect and direct fire, thereby enabling Ukrainian troops to assault Russian trenches. Not only does Ukraine field fewer artillery pieces than the Russian military, but finite stocks of ammunition and replacement howitzer barrels among Ukraine’s international partners are a major constraint on how long Ukraine can maintain a high tempo of operations. Maximising the efficiency of Ukrainian artillery fire is, therefore, a critical factor in determining the outcome of the conflict.

Cluster Bombs and the Contradictions of Liberalism

Stephen M. Walt

The Biden administration’s controversial decision to supply Ukraine with cluster munitions is a telling illustration of liberalism’s limitations as a guide to foreign policy. The administration’s rhetoric extols the superiority of democracies over autocracies, highlights its commitment to a “rules-based order,” and steadfastly maintains that it takes human rights seriously. If this were true, however, it would not be sending weapons that pose serious risks to civilians and whose use in Ukraine it has criticized harshly in the past. But as it has on other prominent issues (e.g., relations with Saudi Arabia, the expanding Israeli oppression of its Palestinian subjects, or the commitment to an open world economy), those liberal convictions get jettisoned as soon as they become inconvenient. This behavior shouldn’t surprise us: When states are in trouble and worried that they might suffer a setback, they toss their principles aside and do what they think it takes to win.

Why globalism failed


Not so long ago, the West was captivated by visions of the ‘end of history’. Francis Fukuyama, Thomas Friedman, Kenichi Ohmae and others envisaged the permanent triumph of a global neoliberal order. They foresaw the emergence of a system controlled by an ever-expanding army of technocrats and professionals, concentrated in a handful of great cosmopolitan cities, riding on ‘advanced’ industries and services.

That world has been turned upside down. Today’s world – divided by geopolitics – looks closer to the one conceived by Samuel Huntington in his 1993 essay, The Clash of Civilisations.

Nations, it turns out, do not share the same worldview. Russia has turned inwards, adopting an ever more quasi-Tsarist, Orthodox pose. China, having used capitalism and capitalists to achieve its greatest power for a half-millennium, is now reverting to a model indebted to both the imperial past and Chairman Mao. In other parts of the world, primitivist urges, whether Islamic or evangelical Christian, have reasserted themselves.

It is countries like China, not the avatars of liberalism, that are now clearly ascendant. Over the past 20 years, the share of the world economy controlled by the G7 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US) has shrunk from 65 to 44 per cent. Today, China produces almost as many manufactured goods as the US, Japan and Germany combined. This is one reason why there are now more billionaires in Beijing than in New York City.

Electronic Warfare: Is The U.S. Military Falling Behind?

Kris Osborn

(Feb. 17, 2009) An EA-18G Growler assigned to the "Vikings" of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 129 aligns itself for an at sea landing aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). The Growler is the replacement for the EA-6B Prowler, which will be replaced in the 2010 timeframe. Ronald Reagan is underway performing Fleet Replacement Squadron Carrier Qualifications in the Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Torrey W. Lee/Released).

Years ago, former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert famously made the statement, “Whoever dominates the electromagnetic spectrum” will prevail in future conflict. Certainly, the ability to control, monitor, or jam enemy communications, radar, weapons guidance systems and drone datalinks, and RF signals could prove decisive in any modern warfare engagement.

The ability to “blind” an enemy, overwhelm or disable air defenses and radar, and deny an adversary the ability to communicate or target could determine victory in war. With this in mind, the U.S. military services have for years now been fast-tracking multiple electromagnetic warfare (EW) technologies.

EW programs are varied and far-reaching, spanning from frequency-jamming counter IED EW, developed years ago in Iraq, to more recent ship-integrated EW called SEWIP, for Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program. SEWIP is designed to jam guidance systems of incoming enemy anti-ship missiles and blind enemy RF communications and datalinks connecting drones to helicopters and ships. The latest increment, called Block 3 SEWIP, is increasingly able to deconflict the spectrum, jam systems at longer ranges, and operate on a greater number of frequencies.

Aircraft systems such as the now airborne Next-Generation Jammer pod are able to jam multiple frequencies at one time. Fighter jets such as the F-35 now operate with increasingly sophisticated EW systems.

High Tech EW

The Convergence of Cybersecurity and Everything

Cole Grolmus

"So, you're working for the FBI?" This was the exact response I got from my grandpa 15 years ago when I told him I was going to work in security after graduating from college. You've heard your own version if you've worked in the industry long enough.

Cybersecurity hasn't been well understood by the public for long. It's hard to pinpoint exactly when this started to change. Anecdotally, awareness seems to have grown alongside the rise of large data breaches regularly sweeping across news cycles.

Broader public awareness of cybersecurity is a side effect of an industry trend that's been building for years: the convergence of cybersecurity and everything. What used to be a narrow and (relatively) isolated domain now seems to be everywhere in tech and society.

We've all noticed individual instances of this phenomenon in passing. You don't start to understand the true magnitude of it until you see how widespread the convergence has become. The qualitative and quantitive impact is even harder to grasp. Movements are easy to feel and difficult to measure.

There are a few rare occasions when you strike a chord and realize you've found a topic people are interested in. This is exactly what happened to me when I tweeted about the convergence of cybersecurity and broader tech last year:

These companies aren’t successful because they’re cybersecurity companies. They’re successful because they took something that wasn’t inherently secure and made security a core feature. A movement this profound deserves a deeper look.
Convergence with core tech markets

The convergence of cybersecurity and core tech markets is relatively intuitive. Its impact is not. The best way to understand the magnitude is to look at the breadth of domains convergence is touching, along with some relevant anecdotes and data about its impact.

The Uncertain Future of the U.S. Military’s All-Volunteer Force

Erin M. Staine-Pyne

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of United States’ all-volunteer military force. It also coincides with one of the worst recruiting years for the U.S. military since 1973. The army missed its 2022 recruiting goal by fifteen thousand soldiers, and the army, air force, and navy all expect to miss their goals in 2023. The shortage is blamed on a confluence of domestic issues: a competitive job market, lack of in-person recruiting during the pandemic, and a population of young adults who are less informed, less interested, and less qualified for military service. The lack of qualified recruits has received a lot of attention, but the fact that our young population does not see the value of military service should also ignite great concern.

The Global War on Terror (GWOT) hurt the military’s brand and reputation, not just because some Americans did not support the wars, but because of the cost paid by service members who were repeatedly deployed to combat zones. The all-volunteer force has been called one of the United States’ greatest success stories, but it was not used as designed during GWOT, and today it is inadequate to meet current personnel needs. It is time to address the shortfalls of the all-volunteer force with a renewed Gates Commission, before the United States’ next long war.

Transition to an All-Volunteer Force

In 1973, the United States transitioned from a conscription-based military to an all-volunteer force after a comprehensive review by the presidentially directed Gates Commission. While there were calls to abandon the Selective Service system (the federal agency charged with matters concerning the draft), the commission recommended keeping it in case of a major conflict that would require the reinstatement of the draft. The new military structure was built to support a long war by utilizing a draft so that the active-duty volunteers could spend two years at home for every year in a combat zone (a “1:2 dwell time”) and the National Guard and Reserves could be home six years for every year mobilized (a “1:6 dwell time”). The dwell goal for the Guard and Reserves has since changed to a 1:4 dwell time, but this system established the Guard and Reserve Components as a temporary stopgap to relieve active-duty forces until the president and Congress reinstate a draft.

The Global War on Terror

Arms Control in the Emerging Deterrence Context

Keith B. Payne & David J. Trachtenberg

Colin S. Gray frequently remarked that arms control works best when least needed, i.e., arms control works best when the parties involved do not have inimical political goals that create hostilities between them and there are few pressures for competitive armament.[2] However, as has been made abundantly clear by Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine and China’s many threats to Taiwan, Russia, China, and the United States have inimical foreign policy objectives. While the United States seeks continuation of a classically liberal world order, Russia and China seek to overturn a world order they see as dominated by the United States and the West to their disadvantage—a goal they apparently believe to be of existential importance.

In this new geo-political environment characterized by such diametrically opposed goals and world views among the contending great powers, the prospects for meaningful arms control agreements appear bleak. Indeed, the U.S. commitment to arms control as a means to reduce the relevance of nuclear weapons has not produced the desired results for decades.[3] Instead, Moscow and Beijing continue to increase the salience of nuclear weapons in pursuit of their respective revisionist goals and strategies. As a 2020 Joint Chiefs of Staff publication states: “Despite concerted US efforts to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in international affairs and to negotiate reductions in the number of nuclear weapons, since 2010 no potential adversary has reduced either the role of nuclear weapons in its national security strategy or the number of nuclear weapons it fields. Rather, they have moved decidedly in the opposite direction.”[4]

Nevertheless, President Biden continues to emphasize U.S. readiness to resume arms control negotiations,[5] and some commentators contend that arms control is essential now more than ever. For example, one analyst has written that the war in Ukraine means that “nuclear arms control must be strengthened and not further dismembered” and that the “strategic stability dialogue” between Washington and Moscow must be resumed.[6] Others have concluded that Russia’s actions in Ukraine—including threats of nuclear war—highlight the growing dangers of nuclear weapons and lend credence to the view that because nuclear deterrence appears increasingly fragile, “The only way to eliminate the danger is to reinforce the norm against nuclear use and pursue a more sustainable path toward their elimination.”[7] Indeed the Biden Administration’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) states that arms control is the “most effective” way to prevent nuclear use and that, “The United States will pursue a comprehensive and balanced approach that places a renewed emphasis on arms control…Mutual, verifiable nuclear arms control offers the most effective, durable and responsible path to achieving a key goal: reducing the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. strategy.”[8]

The Future of the Tank and the Land Battlefield

Azar Gat

The electronic revolution underway in war has begun to signal changes in land warfare, although not to the same degree that it has changed naval and aerial warfare. The IDF must make far-reaching adjustments regarding weapon systems and battle formation structures in order to meet the challenges of the new era

This article contends that the full significance of the electronic revolution underway has yet to be fully realized in land warfare. This revolution has already generated far-reaching changes in air and sea warfare, and it is now exerting similar influence on land warfare. Heavy armor and kinetic weapons are becoming less important, replaced by electronic systems and counter-systems – both offensive and defensive – for detection, attack, and disruption. In this light, the war in Ukraine gives us little more than a partial glimpse of the future. Although electronically guided munitions are deployed there with much effectiveness, electronic interception and disruption systems are still lacking. The Israeli Trophy (Windbreaker) and Iron Fist active protection systems are prime examples of such systems. Hence there is a need for a revolution in the design of the tank and other fighting vehicles, as well as far-reaching adaptations to the structure of military formations – in Israel and elsewhere.

Particularly since the outbreak of war in Ukraine, we have heard much about the new technologies that have revolutionized warfare: drones of all types and sizes – armed, loitering, and self-destructing; AI and big data; cyber; automation and robotics. All this is familiar enough. And still, it is unclear whether the full meaning of the revolution in the shaping of the armed forces and weapon systems in land warfare is evident. The term “Revolution in Military Affairs,” coined already by 1980, says nothing about the causes and nature of this revolution. This article proposes a broad historical-conceptual context to frame the new developments, and outlines their likely practical implications.