5 August 2023

Fault Lines Persist In India–Nepal Relations – Analysis

Rishi Gupta

The Prime Minister of Nepal, Pushpa Kamal Dahal (known as Prachanda), made a four-day visit to India from 31 May to 3 June 2023. This was his fourth visit to India as Prime Minister and his first overseas visit since taking office for the third time in December 2022.

The visit came at a time when India’s ties with Nepal have reached the lowest point in recent history. This is due to the ongoing border dispute and Nepal’s reservation about continuing the recruitment of Nepali Gorkhas in the Indian Army for a fixed four-year term under the controversial Agnipath Scheme.

The most recent contentions between India and Nepal began with the Indian government’s release of a new political map in November 2019. The need for a new map arose after the abrogation of Article 370 in the Indian Constitution, which ended the special status given to the state of Jammu and Kashmir and created a new Union Territory of Ladakh.

Nepal objected to the new map, alleging that its western boundary with India in the Kalapani region was incorrectly drawn. This caused a public uproar, with mass anti-India protests carried out across Nepal. Though India initially refuted Nepal’s allegations and continues to do so, New Delhi agreed to address Nepal’s concerns through diplomatic dialogue to calm the anti-India backlash.

But the then-ruling Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) (CPN-UML) drew on this controversy to strengthen its political base. CPN-UML released a new map showing large Indian territories as Nepali. This new Nepali map received parliamentary approval, making the issue complicated for the diplomatic community to resolve.

The second issue clouding India–Nepal relations concerns the recruitment of Nepali Gorkhas in the Indian Army. This unique practice continued for seven decades until India’s Agnipath Scheme halted the momentum in June 2022. Under the scheme, soldiers below the rank of commissioned officer will be recruited for a fixed four-year term on a contract basis in all branches of the defence force. The scheme applies to Nepali citizens belonging to the Gorkha community.

Reinventing Soft Power: The Strong Impact of China’s Soft Power “Shortcomings” on the Global South

Tanina Zappone

After being introduced into the Chinese academic debate in the 1990s, the notion of soft power has undergone such a process of “Sinicisation” that some scholars now wonder if the original concept has been gradually “reinvented” in China. Given worsening opinions about the PRC in the US and Europe over the last years, many analysts have stressed the weakness of China’s soft power, pointing to its state-centred approach and lack of an attractive set of values to be emulated as the main shortcomings. However, China’s growing influence in the Global South shows that these analyses have misevaluated the real goals and motivations of China’s soft power. The Russia-Ukraine war provides telling examples of the successful dynamics of China’s “defensive” or “negative” version of soft power and suggests it has significant impact in the least industrialised countries.

Paper produced in the framework of the project “Countering Chinese Disinformation in Italy”.

U.S.-China Competition and Military AI

Jacob Stokes, Alexander Sullivan and Noah Greene

Two tectonic trends in the international security environment appear to be on a collision course. The first trend is the intensifying geopolitical rivalry between the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC or China). The second trend is the rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, including for military applications. This report explores how the United States can manage strategic risks—defined as increased risks of armed conflict or the threat of nuclear war—that could be created or exacerbated by military AI in its relationship with China.

It begins by providing an overview of China’s views on and policies toward AI. Beijing sees AI playing roles in both its civilian economy and the modernization of its military, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). At home, Chinese leaders want to leverage AI to boost growth and innovation, address economic and social challenges, and secure the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) domestic rule.

AI also plays a key role in China’s military ambitions, especially its goal to become a “world-class military” by midcentury, in part through the “intelligentization” of its forces. Intelligentization relies on integrating AI and other emerging technologies into the joint force with the goal of gaining an edge on the United States. China argues that its governance model, including its military-civil fusion policy, gives Beijing a competitive advantage over Washington. Realization of that vision, however, remains uncertain and will require China to overcome external and internal obstacles.

This report explores how the United States can manage strategic risks—defined as increased risks of armed conflict or the threat of nuclear war—that could be created or exacerbated by military AI in its relationship with China.

Next, the report articulates five categories of what the authors call pathways, or causal links, through which applications of military AI could undermine stability and increase strategic risk between Washington and Beijing. The first is individual improvements in capabilities that combine to give China a military edge. The second is AI’s effects on the decision-making and information domain. The third is uncrewed autonomous systems. The fourth is intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. And the fifth is command, control, and communications. The report’s discussion of each pathway provides more details about the intricacies of how they might function.

Silicon Triangle: The United States, Taiwan, China, and Global Semiconductor Security

A report of the Working Group on Semiconductors and the Security of the United States and Taiwan, a joint project of the Hoover Institution and the Asia Society Center on U.S.-China Relations.

A new report by Asia Society and the Hoover Institution offers recommendations for how the United States and its allies can ensure a reliable supply of semiconductors, when most of the world’s semiconductor supply comes from Taiwan, and Taiwan is increasingly under pressure from China to come under its direct control. The report, Silicon Triangle: The United States, Taiwan, China, and Global Semiconductor Security, draws on the shared thinking of a working group of technologists, economists, military strategists, industry players, and regional policy experts that met together over 18 months to consider how the United States could strengthen its own position in semiconductors while also protecting Taiwan’s continued autonomy. As the report says: “It is not enough to simply constrain China. It is not even enough to innovate in design. The United States must run faster, harder, and with longer-term vision.” A Foreign Affairs article by the working group’s co-chairs, Asia Society Vice President and Arthur Ross Director Orville Schell, Hoover Institution Senior Fellow Larry Diamond, and retired Admiral James O. Ellis, lays out key recommendations.

China replaces elite nuclear leadership in surprise military shake-up

Brad Lendon, Simone McCarthy and Wayne Chang

Military vehicles carrying DF-5B intercontinental ballistic missiles travel past Tiananmen Square during a military parade marking the 70th founding anniversary of People's Republic of China held in Beijing in 2019.Jason Lee/Reuters

China has revealed two new leaders of its People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force this week in a surprise shake-up that has raised questions about the inner workings at the top of the military branch overseeing the nation’s powerful arsenal of nuclear and ballistic missiles.

On Monday, state media named Wang Houbin as commander of the Rocket Force and Xu Xisheng as the political commissar of the force in a report highlighting their promotion to the rank of general by Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

State media has yet to release any information about previous chief Li Yuchao, a veteran of the force who had only served as commander since the start of last year, a comparatively short tenure, or about previous commissar Xu Zhongbo.

The replacement of two top figures in the Rocket Force in one sweep with military figures from outside the branch — as Wang comes from the navy and and Xu Xisheng the air force — is an unusual move, experts say. And it comes a week after China’s former foreign minister, Qin Gang, was suddenly and dramatically ousted from his office without explanation.

The Rocket Force reshuffle follows several weeks of rumors that a leadership change was afoot as Li had not been in public view, now further fueled by a lack of confirmation about his current position within China’s opaque political system.

The last time Li and Xu Zhongbo were mentioned as Rocket Force leaders was in an April 6 statement from the local government in Suzhou city, where they attended a wreath-laying commemoration ceremony, according to a CNN search.

China’s Recent Political Bureau Meeting And The Trend It Sets – Analysis

He Jun

On July 24, the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China convened a meeting to analyze and study the current economic situation and set forth economic plans for the second half of the year.

The meeting was presided by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Given the highly complex economic situation and the release of China’s half-year economic data, researchers at ANBOUND provide the following preliminary interpretations regarding the assessment of the economic situation and the country’s measures for the second half of the year.

Firstly, the meeting pointed out that the economy is facing new difficulties and challenges. These mainly include insufficient China’s domestic demand, operational difficulties for some enterprises, multiple risks in key areas, and a complex external environment. After changes in the country’s COVID-19 policy, the economic recovery is characterized by wave-like development and twists and turns. However, China’s economy has enormous development resilience and potential, and its fundamental long-term positive trend remains unchanged.

ANBOUND researchers point out that a key focus of the recent meeting of the Political Bureau was the special emphasis on the fundamental judgment of “insufficient domestic demand”, while also acknowledging that the economic recovery is characterized by “wave-like development and twists and turns”. This implies that a series of economic policies and adjustments in the future will revolve around addressing this demand shortfall in their design and implementation.

Secondly, regarding the economic work for the second half of the year, the meeting emphasized the need to adhere to the general principle of making progress while ensuring stability. The goal is to continuously promote the sustained improvement of economic performance, enhance endogenous growth drivers, improve social expectations, and address hidden risks, ultimately achieving qualitative and efficient improvement, as well as reasonable growth in the economy.

China’s Control Over AI Apps: Emerging Dynamics In The Field Of Artificial Intelligence – Analysis

Aishwarya Sanjukta Roy Proma

China is actively fostering and encouraging innovation in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) via a multitude of approaches. With the order from the Chinese government, Apple has removed over 100 artificial intelligence applications from the Chinese App Store. These apps have broken enacted governmental regulations that seek to curb the dissemination of “subversive” discourse originating from chatbot platforms such as ChatGPT.

The deletions represent the beginning of a new era of artificial intelligence regulation put into place by Chinese authorities. Concurrently, the same authorities are also pushing local enterprises to intensify the development of their language models, subject to stricter oversight. These models can compete with established entities such as OpenAI and Google in the US. In recent times, the Cyberspace Administration of China has issued fresh recommendations that urge creators of artificial intelligence to undertake comprehensive security evaluations and officially register their algorithms with governmental regulatory bodies.

This has potentially provided Chinese developers of artificial intelligence (AI) with the opportunity to narrow the gap between themselves and their American counterparts. Simultaneously, it allows them to retain strict control over the information generated by extensive language models that is subsequently shown to users.

Following the order, Apple informed developers in a letter that OpenCat posted on Twitter that it was removing some applications because they contained information that was illegal in China. According to reports, many widely used Chinese artificial intelligence (AI) applications, such as Spark, ChatGAi Plus, OpenCat, and ChatbotAI, have been eliminated as a result of the government’s recent efforts to eradicate generative AI technologies. These regulations, which will take effect on August 15, 2023, require that AI developers obtain a license from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and ensure that their products adhere to the core socialist values and do not produce content that is fake or misleading to state power.

Normalizing Assad Has Made Syria’s Problems Even Worse

Charles Lister

Three months ago, Saudi Arabia kick-started a concerted regional effort to reengage and normalize Syria’s regime within the Middle East and, Riyadh hoped, farther afield. On April 18, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian capital of Damascus. Just one month later, on May 19, the Arab League embraced one of the world’s most notorious war criminals for the first time since 2011.

Inside the Wagner Group’s Armed Uprising

“How can Putin claim to have total control over the country, and then something like this happens?” a member of the Russian political élite said.Photo illustration by Cristiana Couceiro; Source photographs from Alamy and Getty

On May 20th, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner Group, stood in the center of Bakhmut, in eastern Ukraine, and recorded a video. The city once housed seventy thousand people but was now, after months of relentless shelling, nearly abandoned. Whole blocks were in ruins, charred skeletons of concrete and steel. Smoke hung over the smoldering remains like an early-morning fog. Prigozhin wore combat fatigues and waved a Russian flag. “Today, at twelve noon, Bakhmut was completely taken,” he declared. Armed fighters stood behind him, holding banners with the Wagner motto: “Blood, honor, homeland, courage.”

More than anyone else in Russia, Prigozhin had used the war in Ukraine to raise his own profile. In the wake of the invasion, he transformed Wagner from a niche mercenary outfit of former professional soldiers to the country’s most prominent fighting force, a private army manned by tens of thousands of storm troopers, most of them recruited from Russian prisons. Prigozhin projected an image of himself as ruthless, efficient, practical, and uncompromising. He spoke in rough, often obscene language, and came to embody the so-called “party of war,” those inside Russia who thought that their country had been too measured in what was officially called the “special military operation.” “Stop pulling punches, bring back all our kids from abroad, and work our asses off,” Prigozhin said, the month that Bakhmut fell. “Then we’ll see some results.”

The aura of victory in Bakhmut enhanced Prigozhin’s popularity. He had an almost sixty-per-cent approval rating in a June poll conducted by the Levada Center, Russia’s only independent polling agency; nineteen per cent of those surveyed said they were ready to vote for him for President. His new status seemed to come with a special license to criticize top officials in Moscow. Prigozhin had accused his rivals in the Russian military, Sergei Shoigu, the defense minister, and Valery Gerasimov, the chief of general staff, of withholding artillery ammunition from Wagner. “That’s direct obstruction, plain and simple,” Prigozhin said. “It can be equated with high treason.” In the battle for Bakhmut, he said, “five times more guys died than should have” because of the officials’ indecisive leadership.

How Ukraine is Crushing Russia's Famed "God of War" Artillery


The artillery that has been the centerpiece of Russia's offensive in Ukraine is running severely short as Ukraine's increasingly effective weapons of the same type exact devastating losses, according to U.S. intelligence analysts.

Artillery, called the "God of War" by Joseph Stalin for its deadliness, is also central to Ukraine's ongoing counter-offensive. While that has made slower progress than last year's dramatic advances against the Russian invasion, the analysts believe Russia's artillery shortages are not only allowing the Ukrainians to operate with greater flexibility but were also behind Yevgeny Prigozhin's attention-grabbing mutiny in late June.

"Artillery has been Russia's advantage, until now," says a senior defense intelligence official, in an emailed statement to Newsweek, "and though the artillery duel between the two countries has been relentless and had crushing effect on both sides, it is Russia that is now suffering the greatest losses." The official requested anonymity to speak about sensitive matters.

The counter-offensive is now impeded mostly by the task of breaching Russian minefields and defenses, which after a year of preparation are enormous.

Russian authorities did not respond to Newsweek's request for comment. The Russian Ministry of Defense has not publicly addressed the shortages or supply problems associated with artillery. The Ministry has said that Russian forces are increasingly using small drones to spot targets for indirect artillery attack, and that "high explosive and high explosive fragmentation shells are used to inflict as much losses on Armed Forces of Ukraine personnel and fortified positions as possible, including deep underground concrete fortifications of Ukrainian nationalists."

A combination of factors, including Western supplies of better guns and shells, superior intelligence information and counterbattery fire, and long-range attacks on Russian supply lines have accumulated in favor of Ukraine over the past 10 months.

Disjointed and uncoordinated Russian attacks, including human wave attacks by Prigozhin's private Wagner group have also resulted in higher and higher casualties amongst Russian soldiers, analysts say.

That was a factor in Prigozhin's dramatic rebellion in late June when his forces barreled towards Moscow before reaching agreement to pull back.



Russia’s war in Ukraine is violating the rules-based international order and poses a significant threat to European security. The EU and NATO have responded by taking coordinated action. The measures taken have varied from unprecedented sanctions on Russia to assisting Ukraine with the delivery of arms and ammunition. The war in Ukraine has led to an even stronger focus on collective defence, which was already put in motion after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. Furthermore, the European security architecture has witnessed a significant change with Finland (and later this year Sweden) joining the North Atlantic Alliance. At the Vilnius Summit (11-12 July 2023), NATO has taken new decisions to strengthen its deterrence and defence posture.

Off the MAP: Ukraine and the Problems of Expanding NATO

Walter Landgraf

The North Atlantic Council’s decision at the 2023 Vilnius summit to exempt Ukraine from obtaining a Membership Action Plan (MAP), the formal institutional mechanism used by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to guide chosen applicants toward membership, is a turning point for the alliance’s expansion in the post-Cold War era.

NATO has now undercut its own established procedure to ensure that candidates have met the alliance’s standards for membership.

This could have serious repercussions for Ukraine, other potential members, and Euro-Atlantic security. By removing the MAP for Ukraine but not other countries in the membership queue, NATO exposes itself to accusations of double standards, while drawing closer to direct war with Russia.

To join NATO, prospective members typically must follow a MAP, or membership action plan. The MAP has been NATO’s standard bureaucratic procedure to convert applicants into members for over two decades. After Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999, this plan was created to streamline the process. The idea was based on the feeling that the initial set of candidates had been promised membership before the military and political reforms outlined in the alliance’s own 1995 “Study on NATO Enlargement” had been finished. The MAP acronym was intentional, as explained a former U.S. National Security Council official. Candidates were told “if you follow the map, you will get there.”

Nearly all countries that have joined NATO in the twenty-first century have first finished a MAP, beginning with the so-called big-bang expansion in 2004 which involved seven countries, including the three Baltic states. The Balkans region was the focus of subsequent expansion rounds in 2009, 2017, and 2020, all of which included nations that had MAPs. At the moment, the one exception to the rule is Finland, which joined in April 2023. It was not necessary for Helsinki to obtain a MAP because it was already a member of the EU, which has more stringent political, economic, and legislative admission requirements than NATO. Another reason Finland did not need a MAP was that it already has a capable military that is interoperable with NATO in most respects. This partly explains why all countries that have joined both organizations since the end of the Cold have joined NATO first.

Jamestown Foundation

Illegal Fishing in Southeast Asia: Scope, Dimensions, Impacts, and Multilateral Response

The PLA Reconceptualizes Control of the Air

The PRC Eyes Vietnam: Chinese Assessments of Vietnam’s Hedging Strategy

Xi Shifts Blame as Chinese Economy Continues to Falter

If Ukraine Is Any Barometer Of Expenditure Rates In Modern War, America Is Gonna Lose Taiwan

Mackenzie Eaglen

U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision to send cluster munitions to Ukraine is important, but it has served up yet another reminder that the U.S. is short on stuff that blows up. Responding to reporters’ questions about the decision to send those shells, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said, “We need to build a bridge from where we are today to when we have enough monthly production of unitary rounds.”

Building a production and manufacturing “bridge” for munitions and mines takes time. These lines and workforces are not light switches that can be turned off and on quickly. From the consolidation of firms and suppliers, to long lead times for parts and energetics, and a number of other issues in between, our inability to produce munitions at scale has numerous causes.
Funding Woes

Dig a little deeper, though, and it is clear that money is the main reason the munitions industrial base lacks surge capacity. And like so much else when it comes to the state of our military today, the insufficient funds are no accident.

When past defense budgets did not provide for real growth, policymakers often allowed munitions to take the hit, choosing to support other underfunded accounts. Flying hours, munitions, sustainment, and workforce are regular bill payers for other defense priorities, according to Pentagon acquisition chief Bill LaPlante.

The result is munitions funding — and therefore production — that has come in waves. From over $30 billion at the end of the Cold War, funding fell to around $10 billion during the so-called procurement holiday of the 1990s, and it sits just under $20 billion today. There has not been for decades a sustained and steady increase in how much we spend on the things that give our planes, tanks, and ships firepower.

How to Reverse the Erosion of U.S. and Allied Military Power and Influence

David A. Ochmanek, Anna Dowd, Stephen J. Flanagan, Andrew R. Hoehn, Jeffrey W. Hornung, Michael J. Lostumbo, Michael J. Mazarr

Research QuestionsWhat are the principal demands for which U.S. and allied military forces should prepare?

If those forces are deemed inadequate, what gaps exist in the capabilities, posture, and operational concepts of those forces?

What options exist to fill those gaps, and what steps should policymakers consider in reformulating plans for future forces?

The U.S. defense strategy and posture have become insolvent. The tasks that the nation expects its military forces and other elements of national power to do internationally exceed the means that are available to accomplish those tasks. Sustained, coordinated efforts by the United States and its allies are necessary to deter and defeat modern threats, including Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine and reconstituted forces and China's economic takeoff and concomitant military modernization. This report offers ideas on how to address shortcomings in defense preparations.

Key Findings

The nature of warfare has evolved since the Cold War, and it has become increasingly clear that the U.S. defense strategy and posture are insolvent.

The U.S. defense strategy has been predicated on U.S. military forces that were superior in all domains to those of any adversary. This superiority is gone. The United States and its allies no longer have a virtual monopoly on the technologies and capabilities that made them so dominant against adversarial forces.

The ratings agency said that the downgrade reflects an ‘erosion of governance’

Matt Grossman and Andrew Duehren

Fitch Ratings downgraded the U.S. government’s credit rating weeks after President Biden and congressional Republicans came to the brink of a historic default, warning about the growing debt burden and political dysfunction in Washington.

The downgrade, the first by a major ratings firm in more than a decade, is evidence that increasingly frequent political skirmishes over the U.S. government’s finances are clouding the outlook for the $25 trillion global market for Treasurys. Fitch’s rating on the U.S. now stands at “AA+”, or one notch below the top “AAA” grade.

America’s reputation for reliably making good on its IOUs has cast Treasury bonds in an indispensable role in global markets: a safe-haven security offering nearly risk-free returns. Treasurys serve as a critical benchmark for returns on stocks and other bonds, because investors generally demand greater yields on any other securities that they buy.

Few investors believe that Fitch’s downgrade will immediately challenge that role. Still, it is the first time a ratings firm lowered its headline assessment of the U.S. government’s propensity to pay its bills on time since Standard & Poor’s in 2011 lowered its rating one notch below the top grade. That decision followed another tense debt-ceiling standoff in Congress.

Moody’s, the other member of the three big U.S. ratings firms, continues to give the U.S. its strongest assessment.

Fitch said Tuesday that the downgrade reflects an “erosion of governance” in the U.S. relative to other top-tier economies over the last two decades.

“The repeated debt-limit political standoffs and last-minute resolutions have eroded confidence in fiscal management,” the agency said.

Biden administration officials criticized Fitch’s decision, blaming governance problems on the Trump administration and arguing that the U.S. was not at risk of missing its debt payments.

“The change by Fitch Ratings announced today is arbitrary and based on outdated data,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement.

HackerOne: How Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Cyber Threats and Ethical Hacking

Megan Crouse

Security experts from HackerOne and beyond weigh in on malicious prompt engineering and other attacks that could strike through LLMs.Image: NicoElNino/Adobe Stock

HackerOne, a security platform and hacker community forum, hosted a roundtable on Thursday, July 27, about the way generative artificial intelligence will change the practice of cybersecurity. Hackers and industry experts discussed the role of generative AI in various aspects of cybersecurity, including novel attack surfaces and what organizations should keep in mind when it comes to large language models.

Generative AI can introduce risks if organizations adopt it too quickly

Organizations using generative AI like ChatGPT to write code should be careful they don’t end up creating vulnerabilities in their haste, said Joseph “rez0” Thacker, a professional hacker and senior offensive security engineer at software-as-a-service security company AppOmni.

For example, ChatGPT doesn’t have the context to understand how vulnerabilities might arise in the code it produces. Organizations have to hope that ChatGPT will know how to produce SQL queries that aren’t vulnerable to SQL injection, Thacker said. Attackers being able to access user accounts or data stored across different parts of the organization often cause vulnerabilities that penetration testers frequently look for, and ChatGPT might not be able to take them into account in its code.

The two main risks for companies that may rush to use generative AI products are:Allowing the LLM to be exposed in any way to external users that have access to internal data.
Connecting different tools and plugins with an AI feature that may access untrusted data, even if it’s internal.

4 Tools That Make It Easy to Write and Work—Wherever You Go


I LIKE TO say “I’m a writer by trade,” but I rarely feel like a writer. I feel like a social media manager, a researcher, a content creator, or a brand marketer. I feel as far removed from writing as one can be while still putting words to paper. After all, a “writer” is someone who sips coffee and churns out books and articles and thoughtful observations from the shore of some charmingly remote pond, right?

Not quite. All of those jobs (and many more) require writing, sometimes hours of it. And while we may not see ourselves as writers, we use the tools of the writing trade every day to do the jobs we do. Meanwhile, many of us are also on the go: traveling to meetings, visiting offsites, working from home or from public spaces, and writing at every turn. For my fellow writers—and my fellow “people who write for work”—here are four must-have items to help you write from anywhere.

If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. This helps support our journalism. 

A Reliable (and Large) Portable Power Bank to Avert Disaster

Every writer’s worst nightmare is your device powering down when you’re in the middle of tapping away on the keyboard. Did it save? Is your work lost? Most airports, hotels, and other public spots have charging ports available, but these sources are often scarce, crowded, or difficult to get to (who hasn’t sat on a dirty airport floor just to access a plug socket?).

It’s best to plan for the worst by keeping a charged power bank on you at all times. The one I travel with is a hefty red brick with two USB ports that takes hours to charge up completely, so I make sure to fill it days before a trip. I’m willing to endure the weight and bulk of the battery in exchange for the power to completely charge my devices multiple times. The best power bank for you will vary depending on your needs, but we have a list of options here to help you choose.

Drone ships: What are they and how much do they cost?

Joshua Cheetham

Two attacks by Ukrainian drone ships against Russian warships have been thwarted, according to Moscow. Ukraine's navy has denied any involvement.

While aerial drones have been used to great effect by Ukraine and Russia since the start of the war, a new form of drone technology has also been gaining momentum in the Black Sea.

What are drone ships?

Drone ships are small, unmanned vessels. Unlike aerial drones, these ones operate on or below the water's surface.

There are many terms used to describe them, including drone boats, sea drones, and uncrewed surface vessels (USVs).

They come in all shapes and sizes and are used for a variety of tasks, including environmental monitoring.

These drones can be used for military purposes too - like clearing mines, carrying out surveillance or detonating near targets like enemy ships.

Many drone ships have been pictured since the start of the war, including one which reportedly washed up on the Crimea shores.

Army Futures Command honing in on ‘human-machine integration,’ beyond a ‘bolt-on’ capability


Modern warfare futuristic soldier using virtual reality glasses on purple background as concept of artificial intelligence on Hud screen display (Getty images)

WASHINGTON — Army Futures Command is going to be “very focused on human-machine integration” in the next year, one of several research and development (R&D) “seeds” the service is planting, Gabe Camarillo, the service’s under secretary said today.

“And as we continue to work on automating some of our systems, for example, on logistics and supply, and experiments with robotic combat vehicles, we’re also trying to understand the relationship between those platforms, and the soldiers and operators who use them,” Camarillo said at the Potomac Officers Club’s Army Summit.

“And that’s going to be a big focus from Army Futures Command over the next year, relying more heavily on armed and unmanned combat vehicles for things potentially like reconnaissance and delivery, in order to keep the soldier safer,” he added.

But even if the service gets its R&D efforts right in that space, there’s still the question of how soldiers will be integrated with machines and how autonomous systems will be employed, he said. Those are questions that the service hopes to answer in fiscal 2024.

“I think what I’m trying to say also is that we want to remove — or move past I should say — the mindset where all of these autonomous systems are a bolt-on capability, and ensure that they’re adequately integrated across our formations,” he said. “And AFC is going to lead the charge on that.”

Other R&D focus areas in FY24 include software applications and energetic materials, or chemicals found in weapon systems, a key area of value for the Army.

AI-enabled social media tool ‘promising’ new tech for Army: Officials


The Army is testing new AI-enabled social media tech to aid decision-making. (DVIDS soldier image, Getty social media graphic)

WASHINGTON — As the military explores how it can best use artificial intelligence to enhance operations on the battlefield, the Army is testing how one specific AI-enabled social media tool can help commanders make better informed decisions.

The technology, called Data Robot, was one of 17 technologies tested during this year’s Cyber Quest, an experiment aimed at emerging technologies, at Fort Gordon, Ga. Led by the US Army Cyber Center of Excellence, soldiers tested several technologies from 11 different industry vendors spanning from electronic warfare to networking to cyber this past month.

“This is our opportunity to make sure that those new technologies will actually work when we take them out to the field,” Maj. Gen. Paul Stanton, commanding general of the US Army Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, told reporters July 28. “And over the years I’ve noted that there’s one very distinct difference between capabilities that are designed for industry and commercial purposes, and capabilities that we require in the United States Army. And that has been our enemies are trying to see us constantly in order to kill us.

“So regardless of how sound the science is from an industry or academic or scientific perspective, it oftentimes needs to be tweaked in order to meet some of the fundamental requirements that we have in the Army,” he added.

Data Robot used open-source data to detect bots and deep-fake algorithms, Col. John Agnello, director of the Army’s program officer for information advantage, explained.

The tech could potentially help the service in the information advantage and dominance space by creating an “overlay” for a commander to see and make decisions — a capability the Army doesn’t have yet, Col. Brett Riddle, director of the Army’s cyber battle lab, added.

AI and Gray-Zone Aggression: Risks and Opportunities

Elisabeth Braw

Key PointsGenerative artificial intelligence (AI), which causes confusion among the public through its generation of sophisticated and credible-seeming text, audio, and imagery, poses a considerable threat to societal discourse, especially since it can be used in hostile powers’ disinformation.

Western countries’ legislators are struggling to keep pace with generative AI’s rapid advance. In June 2023, the EU became the first jurisdiction to pass legislation aimed at limiting generative AI’s harm.

At the same time, AI can be useful in detecting gray-zone aggression, which can appear anywhere, anytime, in any shape. Today, countries targeted by gray-zone aggression struggle to identify it at an early stage because doing so primarily involves monitoring by humans.


In mid-May 2023, Sam Altman, the CEO of ChatGPT-creator OpenAI, told a congressional committee that one of his “greatest concerns” was the potential for artificial intelligence (AI) to persuade voters and provide “interactive disinformation” in the 2024 US election campaign.1 One might ask why, given these concerns, Altman and OpenAI decided to release their technology. But even if they hadn’t, considering how much damage Russian disinformation caused during the 2016 election campaign, AI-aided falsehoods in upcoming election campaigns are an alarming prospect.

Generative AI, the category to which ChatGPT and other chatbots belong, refers to algorithms often called large language models (LLM), which are capable of generating new and credible content including text, images, and (to a lesser extent) video and audio from training data. During the early months of 2023, such AI caught the public’s attention with the arrival of ChatGPT, a chatbot that composes prose as elegant and informative as that written by humans. The skyrocketing popularity of the tool, which reached 100 million active monthly users within two months of its launch, on November 30, 2022, helped people realize that any written text can now be the work of a robot and that the reader is mostly not in a position to establish whether a written work’s author is a human or a machine.2

Building Partner Capabilities for Cyber Operations

RADM (Ret) Mark Montgomery
Source Link

Executive Summary1

In December 2015, Russia turned the lights out in Kyiv. In the spring of 2022, they could not. But this was not for lack of trying.2 Since the war began, Ukraine has sustained thousands of Russian cyberattacks,3 but the nation has endured because it has spent the better part of the last decade building its cyber defenses, often with the help of the United States and other international partners. The country has demonstrated that one country’s ability to prevent, mitigate, and recover from cyberattacks enhances global economic stability and security. Because of strong Ukrainian defenses, Russian cyberattacks have not cascaded across Europe and America, as was the case in 2017 with the Russian NotPetya malware.4

The Biden administration’s National Cybersecurity Strategy argues that a prosperous future requires resilient global digital infrastructure built on the values of democracy, free speech, and innovation.5 This means building and strengthening international partnerships to reinforce norms of responsible behavior, disrupt malicious actors, and enhance the ability of allies and partners to secure themselves against cyber threats. The 2023 U.S. Defense Cyber Strategy calls these allies and partners America’s “foundational advantage in the cyber domain.”6

The U.S. government conducts partner cyber capacity-building programs across multiple federal departments — to include the Departments of State, Justice, Energy, Homeland Security, Treasury, and Defense and the intelligence community. These programs help allies and partners build cyber resilience, develop national cyber strategies, prosecute cyber criminals, and evict malicious cyber actors from critical networks. They have become so popular around the world that demand “exceeds our capacity to deliver,” Nathaniel Fick, U.S. ambassador at large for Cyberspace and Digital Policy, said in June.7

Capacity-building programs help other countries learn to defend themselves in cyberspace. More resilient partners are less likely to succumb to an attack or need recovery assistance. But the U.S. government also helps partners recover, remediate, and conduct forensic analysis to determine the cause and culprit when cyberattacks succeed. These efforts can yield valuable insights about attacker techniques that can then be shared with other governments and the public.

Supporting Command and Control for Land Forces on a Data-Rich Battlefield

Dr Jack Watling

Forces that can leverage battlefield hyperconnectivity capabilities are likely to secure a competitive advantage over those that cannot. This paper seeks to explain what is driving changes to land forces’ command and control, the enterprise architecture that best supports the emerging requirements, and the implications for how command is practised.

The maturation of an ecosystem of data bearers and data management tools means battlefield hyperconnectivity is now realisable for militaries. Forces that can leverage these capabilities are likely to secure a competitive advantage over those that cannot. However, adopting these technologies requires a series of changes in how land forces conduct command and control (C2). To that end, this paper seeks to explain what is driving changes to land forces’ C2, the enterprise architecture that best supports the emerging requirements, and the implications for how command is practised. The foremost drivers of change are that:Armies that achieve greater situational awareness will have a competitive advantage.

Situational awareness is achieved by moving relevant data between both units at echelon and sensors and effectors to enable forces to converge their efforts.

Data relevance must either be determined by pre-agreed prioritisation or by analysis conducted at higher echelon.

Latency in data transfer must be minimised for control of effects.

Latency may be high for command of the force, but the picture must constitute as complete a data set as can be reasonably assembled.

Low-latency, high-bandwidth communications impose an unacceptable draw on power for most tactical units, which must support low-latency, low-bandwidth communication to maintain situational awareness.

The concentration of analytical capacity at higher echelons exposes the formation to an unacceptable degree of risk from long-range fires unless these elements can be dispersed.

Dispersion demands the automation of a significant proportion of headquarters tasks.

Automation demands a bearer-agnostic heterogeneous data ecosystem for the force, the remotely accessible nature of which also makes it vulnerable to cyber attack.

Any future C2 architecture must degrade gracefully and in a predictable manner under constant disruption of the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS).

The Soldier-Statesman in the Secret World: George C. Marshall and Intelligence in War and Peace

David Robarge, CIA Historian


Marshall, the Army’s Chief of Staff during 1939-45 and Secretary of State and Defense during 1947-49 and 1950-51, respectively, is best known as the Allies’ “true organizer of victory” during World War II and steward of the economic recovery program named after him—the Marshall Plan—that helped stave off communist-incited instability in postwar Western Europe as it started to rebuild from wartime destruction.

Marshall’s illustrious reputation as one of America’s greatest 20th-century leaders rests almost entirely on his achievements in wartime and the immediate postwar cold peace. In contrast to that familiar heroic narrative, an examination of Marshall’s far less-well-known engagement with the world of intelligence during those years reveals a significantly more complicated picture. . . .

A thorough review of the resources at the George Marshall Research Library, official records, and a large body of primary and secondary sources reveals that between 1939 and 1951, Marshall was much more involved in intelligence affairs than has been indicated in the extensive literature about his role in World War II, his diplomatic mission to China, and his service as head of the State and Defense Departments. His sterling reputation as a “soldier-statesman” and “the military equivalent of a corporate manager” is well deserved, but his record as an “organizer of intelligence” during World War II is much more nuanced and has only been superficially examined up to now.