15 September 2023

What is the DPI Approach?


Digital public infrastructure (DPI) is a brand-new approach to the digitization of large-scale systems. It has the potential to revolutionize the way in which public services are delivered, since it is much more than a software or a technology infrastructure—it is a framework that encompasses technology, markets, and governance. It offers nation states unprecedented agency over their own digital journeys. It is designed to ensure the sovereignty of core public services, enabling capabilities that are critical to national growth. Crucially, it helps governments unlock the power of market innovation and entrepreneurship, creating competition and strengthening local and potentially global digital ecosystems.

Certain properties of DPI are instinctively understood in nations that have adopted the approach, even if they themselves do not as yet use the abbreviation “DPI.” Whether it is Brazil, Estonia, or India, there is an intuitive appreciation for the vast potential of DPI. Yet, for many parts of the world, this language is only beginning to be understood in its entirety.

The Road to the G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration



India has assumed the Group of Twenty (G20) presidency at a time of both crisis and continuity. Even as the world is recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine has presented a major challenge for the G20. This is not the first crisis that the G20 has had to respond to as a collective. Just fifteen years ago, it emerged as the main group of countries to coordinate responses to the global financial crisis. Over the years, the G20 has been able to respond to crises while continuing dialogue and progress on issues that remain relevant to the future of the global economy. India is well poised to lead this process, especially on digital technology.

India’s position as a large emerging market, its demonstrated capabilities when it comes to creating large digital platforms for social inclusion, and its ability to work with a diverse set of international actors have created a unique confluence of opportunities that can be leveraged during its presidency of the G20.

Decoding the G20 Consensus on Digital Public Infrastructure: A Key Outcome of India’s Presidency


On August 19, 2023, the G20 ministers dealing with the digital economy met in Bengaluru. An outcome document was published that evening. The first—and perhaps the most important—section of the document stated:1

“Under the Indian Presidency’s initiative, we recognise that digital public infrastructure, hereinafter referred to as DPI, is described as a set of shared digital systems that should be secure and interoperable, and can be built on open standards and specifications to deliver and provide equitable access to public and / or private services at societal scale and are governed by applicable legal frameworks and enabling rules to drive development, inclusion, innovation, trust, and competition and respect human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

Maldives’ Months-Old Party Hopes to Shatter Establishment Grip

Bibek Bhandari

As a computer science graduate, Ilyas Labeeb led his family’s modest electronic repair business from a cramped room to become one of Maldives’ biggest information technology companies during the 2000s. Now, the former executive-turned-lawmaker aspires to transform his island country through politics, not business.

Known for its idyllic white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and luxury resorts, Maldives comprises nearly 1,200 islands across the Indian Ocean. Ruled for three decades by an autocratic leader, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the South Asian country, located southwest of India, elected its first democratic president in 2008.

India Is Pushing Back Against China in South Asia

Derek Grossman

As the intensifying strategic confrontation between the United States and China dominates many foreign-policy debates, another important competition is quietly playing out. The jostling between India and China for influence in South Asia—from the Himalayas to the islands off the subcontinent in the Indian Ocean—will likely prove crucial to the fate of Washington's strategy to keep the region “free and open” from Chinese coercion. And the good news, at least for now, is that New Delhi—an increasingly close U.S. partner—has been mostly successful in pushing back against Beijing's rising influence across the region.


Karolina Hird

Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations in Donetsk and Zaporizhia oblasts on September 11 and have reportedly advanced near Bakhmut and in western Zaporizhia Oblast. Ukrainian military officials announced on September 11 that Ukrainian forces have liberated 2 square kilometers of territory in the Bakhmut direction over the past week and have made gains near Klishchiivka (6km southwest of Bakhmut) and Andriiivka (9km southwest of Bakhmut).[1] Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar also stated that Ukrainian forces have gained a total of 4.8 square kilometers in the Tavriisk (Zaporizhia) operational direction over the past week, particularly south of Robotyne (10km south of Orikhiv) and west of Verbove (20km southeast of Orikhiv).[2]

The Rosgvardia may be recruiting previously imprisoned former Wagner Group fighters, likely to further subsume Wagner remnants while bolstering Russia’s domestic security apparatus. Russian opposition outlet iStories reported on September 11 that relatives of previously imprisoned former Wagner fighters revealed that some of their relatives received invitations to serve in the Rosgvardia following a series of tests and certifications.[3] iStories noted that the Rosgvardia is asking former Wagner fighters to pass a security check and provide documentation of official pardons of their prison sentences, as well as documentation of the conclusion of their contracts with Wagner.


Riley Bailey

Ukrainian forces continued to advance south of Robotyne in western Zaporizhia Oblast and reportedly advanced near Bakhmut on September 10. Geolocated footage posted on September 10 shows that Ukrainian forces have advanced east of Novoprokopivka (18km southeast of Orikhiv).[1] Ukrainian Tavriisk Group of Forces Spokesperson Oleksandr Shtupun noted that Ukrainian forces continue to advance near Robotyne (12km south of Orikhiv) and have liberated 1.5 square kilometers of territory in this direction.[2] The Ukrainian General Staff and Ukrainian Eastern Group of Forces Spokesperson Ilya Yevlash reported that Ukrainian forces achieved unspecified success near Klishchiivka (7km southwest of Bakhmut) in Donetsk Oblast.[3]

Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) Head Kyrylo Budanov stated on September 10 that Ukrainian forces will continue counteroffensive operations into late 2023.[4] Cold and wet weather will affect but not halt active combat, as it has done in the first 18 months of the war. Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley stated on September 10 that Ukrainian forces probably have 30 to 45 days of “fighting weather” left.[5] Seasonal heavy rains and heavy mud in late autumn will slow ground movements for both sides, and low temperatures impose a variety of logistics challenges. The start of such seasonal weather is variable, however.[6] While weather considerations will affect Ukrainian counteroffensive operations, they will not impose a definite end to them. A hard freeze occurs throughout Ukraine in the winter that makes the ground more conducive to mechanized maneuver warfare, and Ukrainian officials expressed routine interest in exploiting these weather conditions in winter 2022–2023.[7]

When Dragons Watch Bears: Information Warfare Trends and Implications for the Joint Force

Christopher H. Chin

Over the past decade, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has watched Russia’s employment of information warfare (IW) with great interest. With the recent conflict in Ukraine and the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea, the PRC is actively gauging Western nations’ response and associated global implications should it choose to forcefully reunify Taiwan. As the current pacing threat, the PRC seeks to rewrite global norms with the intent to assert supreme influence over Taiwan and the Asia-Pacific region. The parallels between these two Great Powers and their associated aggression toward breakaway republics present an opportunity for the United States and the joint force to map the contours of an evolving Chinese information warfare strategy to build a more comprehensive U.S. response prior to a future conflict in the region. Given the scope, sophistication, and scale of modern information warfare activities, thwarting Chinese information confrontation tactics during crisis and conflict will require a comprehensive approach, one that boldly marshals increased unity of effort from across the whole of government. To compete and win in the 21st-century information environment, the Department of Defense (DOD), in partnership with the interagency community, should endeavor to lead three initiatives across upcoming joint force time horizons:

Climate Change Could Drown China’s Food Security

Christina Lu

China is reeling from a record-breaking summer of rainfall and flooding that submerged furrows and destroyed crops, offering a window into how climate change-fueled extreme weather will complicate Beijing’s long-standing quest for food security.

China’s leaders have long agonized over how to feed the country’s sizable population—nearly one-fifth of the world—when it is home to just 9 percent of the world’s arable land, territory that has been shrinking as a result of excessive fertilization and overuse. For Chinese officials, those fears stretch back thousands of years, when issues of hunger and food insecurity sparked protests and imperiled regimes; more recently, food shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic sparked unrest in cities.

AI courses to be introduced soon in government schools in Punjab: Bhagwant Mann

One lakh students will be imparted training in artificial intelligence while training will also be given to 10,000 teachers for teaching the courses, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said.

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Wednesday said that courses in artificial intelligence will soon be introduced in government schools across the state.

One lakh students will be imparted training in artificial intelligence while training will also be given to 10,000 teachers for teaching the courses, Mann said.

South Korean Teachers Want an End to Parents’ Harassment

John Yoon

Thousands of teachers rallied on Monday in front of the National Assembly in Seoul to demand more legal protections. Earlier that day, a memorial was held to pay respects for a deceased teacher.CreditCredit...Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Tens of thousands of teachers across South Korea have protested in the streets since July amid worsening complaints over student misbehavior and harassment by parents.

As educators embrace AI, debate shifts to bias and equity concerns


The AI debate in education is shifting to equity, as schools are dropping their bans on ChatGPT and artificial intelligence has been added to numerous learning platforms.

Used as a tutor or as an assistant for teachers to create more personalized lesson plans, AI has brought great hope for the future of technology. But that hope is also crowded by studies showing racial bias and concerns AI will lead to an even bigger tech divide for rural and poor students.

The Real Problem with China’s Economy


If Chinese savings remain at their current level (over 40% of GDP), but investment falls to 30% of GDP, China would have to maintain a current-account surplus of ten percentage points of GDP to keep its economy in equilibrium. At nearly $2 trillion, that would be enough to affect the global savings/investment balance.

MILAN – China’s ongoing economic slowdown has elicited a variety of explanations. But forecasts largely have one thing in common: while the short-term data are somewhat volatile – annual growth rates have been distorted by the legacy of the authorities’ draconian zero-COVID policy – most observers expect Chinese GDP growth to continue trending downward. The International Monetary Fund, for example, expects growth to reach just 4.5% in 2024 and fall to 3% by the end of this decade – better than most advanced economies, but a far cry from the double-digit rates of a decade ago. Yet growth is only part of the story.

Can the G-20 Be a Champion for the Global South?

Darren Walker

Change is coming to the G-20. Nearly a quarter century ago, the world’s 20 largest economies joined together to respond to the global financial crises of the 1990s. Though the group includes many countries from the global south, its wealthy Western members have often exercised the greatest influence while leaving the developing world’s priorities off the table—making it one of many examples in which the West has dominated global affairs at the expense of the rest of the world.

But now, as its leaders convene in India on the heels of Indonesia’s presidency and the eve of Brazil’s, the G-20 is poised to usher in an unprecedented era of not only influence, but also economic justice, for the global south.

The BRICS Is Not a Strategic Threat to the United States

George Monastiriakos

Two weeks ago, the BRICS announced that Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates will join the “alliance” in 2024. Despite widespread enthusiasm in anti-Western circles, the soon-to-be 11-member economic bloc is a partnership of convenience. It is not a long-term alliance nor a strategic threat to the United States. The criteria to join the BRICS are vague. There is no charter and no fixed secretariat. Not even a functional website. This paper tiger also has a long list of structural challenges to overcome. Its ideological incoherence, characterized by issues ranging from internal conflicts of interest to divergent international perspectives, will pose complex challenges to the “bloc” for the foreseeable future.

Is the US getting Asia wrong?


At first glance, President Biden’s upcoming state visit to Vietnam this weekend — coming on the heels of a successful trilateral summit last month, where it forged new defense and high-tech cooperation with South Korea and Japan — appears to underscore Biden’s efforts to deepen U.S. ties in the Asia-Pacific.

Hanoi and Washington are poised to declare a “comprehensive strategic partnership,” another Asian partner seeming to line up to counterbalance China. This is part of a larger pattern. For example, earlier this year, the U.S. cemented deals with the Philippines, a treaty ally, to gain access to four military bases, and with Papua New Guinea, as tensions mount over Taiwan and disputed territorial claims in the South China Sea.

U.S. Military Exercises in Russia’s Backyard Cause Alarm at the Kremlin

Thomas Grove

As Washington seeks to exploit cracks in Russia’s traditional sphere of influence, U.S. forces began joint military exercises with troops from Armenia, the small South Caucasus country that has been a close Russian ally for nearly 200 years.

In a possible sign of the geopolitical realignment driven by Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, U.S. forces commenced on Monday 10 days of joint exercises with Armenian soldiers. About 175 Armenian soldiers will train with about 85 soldiers from U.S. Army Europe and Africa Command outside the capital of Yerevan.

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

David A. Ochmanek

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.

The Washington Whiz Kids Mapping the War in Ukraine

Amy Mackinnon

In the 560 days since Russia launched its full-scale assault on Ukraine, daily reports produced by the Washington-based think tank the Institute for the Study of War have become some of the most widely cited authorities on the state of the conflict. ISW’s maps, which are updated daily to reflect needlepoint changes on the front line, have been used by the Wall Street Journal, the BBC, the Washington Post, and CNN in recent months.

Detailed battlefield updates were once the sole preserve of militaries, intelligence agencies, and embedded journalists. ISW’s Ukraine updates underscore how open-source intelligence has drastically changed public understanding of war. The team’s analysts, many of whom were not yet out of high school when Russia first invaded Ukraine in 2014, methodically mine the internet on a daily basis to build a near real time picture of the war’s progress which has been used by the media, governments, and humanitarian agencies in understanding the war’s progress.

Ukrainians Embrace Cluster Munitions, but Are They Helping?

Lara Jakes and Eric Schmitt

The images of Russian troops retreating from a village in Ukraine under fire leave little doubt of the impact of cluster munitions. Soldiers running from a constellation of at least a dozen explosions around them. An armored vehicle speeding down a road before being hit in a cascade of simultaneous eruptions salting the surrounding ground.

The August drone footage of the Russian withdrawal from the southeastern village of Urozhaine, verified by The New York Times, highlights the power of the weapons. But their usage also points to a grim trade-off in the 18-month conflict. By embracing cluster munitions to keep this summer’s counteroffensive moving forward, Ukraine and the United States have opened themselves to human rights concerns about their long-term threat to civilians who inadvertently trigger unexploded bombs.

Corruption Is an Existential Threat to Ukraine, and Ukrainians Know It

Farah Stockman

President Biden talks of the world being divided into autocracies and democracies. But a more important division exists: between kleptocracies, where leaders treat their nations like personal piggy banks, and places where corruption is the exception rather than the rule.

Since 2014, Ukrainians have been fighting to drag their country into that second category. The Maidan revolution, which sent a pro-Russian president packing, wasn’t just about freeing Ukraine from Russian influence. It was also about breaking the stranglehold of oligarchs who — as in so many former Soviet republics — controlled everything from television stations to the politicians on ballots. The fight against corruption amounts to a second front in Ukraine’s war against Russia.

Introduction: The Hype, Peril, and Promise of Artificial Intelligence

John Mecklin

In an era marked by the rapid advancement of technology, there is no doubt that artificial intelligence (AI) stands at the vanguard of innovation, captivating the imagination of nations and individuals alike. Its potential to revolutionize nearly every aspect of our lives, from warfare and governance to the very essence of human nature, is both awe-inspiring and daunting. As we navigate through these uncharted waters, the September issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists sets its gaze firmly on the complex interplay between humanity and AI, exploring the hype, peril, and promise that surround this transformative force.

We kick off the issue with an insightful interview conducted by editor in chief John Mecklin with Paul Scharre, an emerging military technology expert. Scharre brings into sharp focus the intricate dynamics of global power in the age of AI, where technology reshapes the contours of geopolitical influence.

How China could use generative AI to manipulate the globe on Taiwan


Chinese researchers are already investigating how to use generative AI tools—similar to ChatGPT—to manipulate audiences around the world and will likely use such tools to shape perceptions about Taiwan, according to researchers from RAND.

“Given the [People’s Liberation Army] and the Chinese Communist Party's prior intentions, their prior actions…we think is logically the next target for China would be the Taiwanese [2024 Presidential] elections,” Nathan Beauchamp-Mustafaga, a policy researcher who focuses on Asian security issues at RAND, told reporters Thursday.

The Navy is drowning in data it doesn’t know what to do with


The Navy hasn’t yet figured out how to make best use of the data it collects—and transmitting it while at sea is a chief concern.

“Transport is still that one thing that we kind of take for granted in this equation,” when talking about operationalizing data and artificial intelligence, Chris Cleary, the Navy’s principal cyber advisor, said Thursday. “The Navy doesn't drag [ethernet cables] behind it when it goes to sea. So, the availability of information, regardless of where it lives, is always a challenge.”

Why DoD Needs Greater Focus on Nonlethal Weapons, Intermediate Force Capabilities

Scott Savitz and Krista Romita Grocholski

Electronic warfare technicians Staff Sgt. Caleb Bowman (l) and Airman 1st Class Chance Wedgeworth push an AN/ALQ-131 electronic countermeasures pod out of their workshop at Spangdahlem Air Base.

Nonlethal weapons (NLWs) can play a critical role in military operations. Diverse systems that emit long-range sounds, create dazzling glare, disable engines, entangle propellers, or cause heating sensations can enable mission success in a variety of non-combat contexts. When facing gray-zone confrontations with rival powers, such as standoffs at sea, nonlethal capabilities can push back against an encroaching force while managing the risk of escalation.