15 October 2023

How Israel's War Could Become a Nightmare for President Biden


Hamas's devastating attack on Israel has forced the White House to face the prospect of a potential regional war that would consume the administration for weeks or months to come, a worst-case foreign policy crisis for President Biden as he ramps up his reelection campaign.

And as the death toll rises, other factors beyond a broader escalation -- from a developing hostage situation to oil price rises that would increase inflation and cause economic harm -- may present Biden with challenges that would have significant political ripple effects in the United States.

A broader war in the Middle East may not come to pass. But as details of the planning behind the attack start to emerge, and as Israel prepares a full-scale assault on Hamas in the Gaza Strip, officials in Washington are bracing for the possibility that the violence might escalate.

"The nightmare scenario for the Biden administration is that before this is contained it metastasizes and Israel has a multifront war on its hands," Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen, the director of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Program at the United States Institute for Peace, told Newsweek.

Whether the war expands will depend in part on any role Iran may have played in helping Hamas plan the attack, former U.S. intelligence and defense officials and others told Newsweek. Iran and allies such as Hezbollah could also escalate the conflict as the Israeli army steps up what it has promised will be a massive operation in Gaza.

How Israel is Using AI to Defuse Hamas Militants

Pranav Kashyap

Israel has declared a state of war, after Hamas, a Palestinian militant group which controls Gaza, attacked the border towns of Israel in the early hours of Saturday. Over 100,000 people have been displaced in Gaza as Israel continues to retaliate on Hamas’ attack.

The casualties could have been significantly higher had the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) not deployed its ‘Iron Dome’ technology, which is protecting the Israeli skies.

Israel’s Iron Dome System

Hamas, operating mainly from the Gaza Strip, fired at least 3,000 rockets on Israel on Saturday. The IDF said that it caused little or no harm as their Iron Dome air defence system intercepted almost 90% of the rockets fired.

Modi’s Statement on the Israel Crisis Demonstrates a Transformed India-Israel Bilateral Relationship

Manjari Chatterjee Miller

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi extends his hand for a handshake with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu during a meeting in New Delhi. 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement on the Israel-Hamas crisis that unfolded over the weekend was unequivocal. Modi tweeted on X, “deeply shocked by the news of terrorist attacks in Israel. Our thoughts and prayers are with the innocent victims and their families. We stand in solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour.” Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar retweeted the statement. The statement and its speed were striking. Until as recently as 1992, India had no diplomatic relationship with Israel. Furthermore, India is not a country known to be quick to choose sides in a crisis.

Modi’s statement shows how far the India-Israel relationship has come. For many years after India’s independence from the United Kingdom in 1947, Israel was extremely enthusiastic about establishing a close relationship with India. However, for more than four decades, India refused to respond to Israel’s overtures. Jawaharlal Nehru and other Indian anti-colonial leaders, scarred by their experience of Partition and the creation of Pakistan—the first country to be founded on the basis of religious nationalism—were fundamentally opposed to the idea of a state created based on Zionism. Moreover, they were highly sympathetic to the Palestinian cause and saw the plight of the Palestinians as a direct consequence of British imperialism. As a result, while India recognized the establishment of Israel in 1950, it refused to start a formal diplomatic relationship. In the ensuing years, India’s condemnation of Israel continued even though Israel extended India (limited) military support in its wars with Pakistan and China, while the Arab states gave extensive, regular political and military support to Pakistan.

Israel May Decimate Hamas, but Can It “Win” This War?

Robin Wright

I landed in the Middle East for the first time on October 6, 1973. In the Beirut airport terminal, a woman turned to me and whispered in an anxious panic, “The Egyptians have just crossed the Suez Canal!” In a surprise offensive, code-named Operation Badr, after the Prophet Muhammad’s first military victory in the seventh century, Syria and Egypt had invaded Israel on two opposite fronts. The Yom Kippur War lasted almost three weeks. The Arabs lost militarily, but believed they had won psychologically and politically—forcing Israel to recognize that it was vulnerable and eventually would have to make peace with its enemies. Fifty years later, Hamas is a third-rate militia compared with Syrian and Egyptian forces, let alone Israel’s sophisticated Army and arsenal. Yet the conflict that erupted this weekend feels more ominous. “Powerful, centrifugal forces have been unleashed that have rewritten the rules for the entire region,” Bruce Hoffman, the senior fellow for counterterrorism at the Council on Foreign Relations, told me. Unlike confrontations in previous decades which followed a pattern of death, destruction, and negotiated ceasefires, this war is “completely unpredictable,” Hoffman said.

Even a decisive Israeli military victory is unlikely to end the country’s increasingly perilous security challenges. It’s not even clear what “winning” means. “There’s no question Israel can inflict tremendous damage on Gaza—on its infrastructure and on its people—and can also target Hamas leaders,” Dan Kurtzer, a former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, told me. But movements regenerate, and “sometimes the next leadership turns out to be more radical, more extreme, than the one that was beheaded,” Kurtzer said. Al Qaeda of Iraq, for example, evolved into the Islamic State of Iraq and then, after a U.S. air strike killed its founder in 2006, into isis in 2013.

Israel’s Calamity—and After

David Remnick

All weekend long, in countless commentaries in the media, in painful telephone calls with friends in Israel, came the march of analogies, the inevitable attempts to make sense of the incomprehensible. Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, the bloody storming of southern Israel that Hamas launched from the Gaza Strip, was, many were saying, the most horrific national tragedy since the Yom Kippur War, in 1973. Others said it was Pearl Harbor. Or the “Israeli 9/11.”

The audacity and brutality of the attack were as astonishing as its secrecy. Early on Saturday morning, Hamas fired more than two thousand missiles into Israel, and bulldozers and fighters easily breached the security fence near the Erez Crossing. In part because Israel had sent so many troops north, to the West Bank, to deal with unrest there—provoked by settlement expansion and settler violence—Hamas faced little resistance as they headed toward towns and kibbutzim in southern Israel to slaughter civilians and take as many hostages as possible. My colleague in Israel, Ruth Margalit, reports how, just before dawn, at the Nova music festival near Kibbutz Re’im, Hamas fighters in pickup trucks and motorcycles descended on crowds of young people as police shouted “Color Red!”—the code for incoming rocket fire. More than two hundred people were killed at the festival alone. In just a couple of days, the number of slain Israelis has, according to news reports, risen to more than eight hundred; at least a hundred and fifty Israeli women, men, and children have been captured and brought back to Gaza as hostages. The images of fear and bloodletting, of ecstatic attack and capture, guarantee that October 7, 2023, will become an indelible tragedy in Jewish history.

What the Israel-Palestine Conflict Means for China-US Competition

Wang Jin

The new round of the Israel-Palestine conflict, in terms of both intensity and scope, is unprecedented since the Yom Kippur War in 1973. In the coming period of time, there is a risk of further escalation of the Israel-Palestine conflict, which will have a multifaceted impact on the long-term settlement of the issue, as well as affecting neighboring countries, regional countries, and the United States’ strategy in the Middle East.

For China, the new round of Israeli-Palestinian conflict brings both opportunities and risks.

Latest Round of Conflict between Israel and Palestine

The current conflict is characterized by many aspects, the most notable of which has been the suddenness of the escalation. In recent years, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, especially the conflict between Israel and armed organizations such as Hamas in Gaza, has been the result of an escalation of the civil conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis. However, the current conflict was different. It came almost without warning, bringing a major shock to Israel and the international community.

Within an hour of the outbreak of the conflict, Hamas fired 5,000 rockets into Israel, far more than the total number seen in recent years, and Palestinian militants infiltrated into southern and central Israel to launch raids, resulting in a large number of casualties in Israel (at current count, over 900 dead and 2,700 wounded). With Israel’s counter-offensive ramping up, it is bound to cause even more Palestinian casualties in Gaza.

Israel’s Intelligence Failure


In recent months Hamas refused to join the much smaller Islamic Jihad in launching rockets against Israel, which seems to have convinced Israeli leaders that, at long last, the leading terror group in Gaza had decided to prioritize the welfare of its subjects over more futile rocket attacks.

Israel promptly reciprocated the de facto Hamas ceasefire by allowing thousands of Gazans to work in Israel—first 17,000, then 20,000, with the potential for many more. Their earnings were changing the lives of 100,000 family members with the possibility of even wider benefits. What was happening on the ground seemed to open a path toward tranquility for Israel and a degree of prosperity for Gaza.

Evidently it was all a delusion. Hamas, just like Arafat’s PLO, is willing to do everything for Palestine—and nothing at all for Palestinians.

Israel’s political misjudgments about Hamas’ intentions, especially in the context of recent hopeful movements toward further peace agreements with Arab countries including a deal with Saudi Arabia, may well have played a background role in lowering the country’s vigilance. But it is no excuse for the massive intelligence failure that allowed Hamas to pull off its deadly surprise offensive. Indeed, Israeli wishful thinking is not even relevant to Saturday’s disaster, because the 24/7 scrutiny of enemy doings and undoings to detect “threat indicators” is not supposed to be switched off for any reason, ever.

Hamas’ Unwanted Anniversary Present: Some Worrisome Changes since Israel’s 1973 War

Kenneth M. Pollack

A salvo of rockets is fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza City toward Israel, on October 8, 2023. 

Yesterday’s attack against Israel by Hamas came 50 years and one day after the worst intelligence failure and surprise attack in Israel’s history. On October 6, 1973, the Egyptian and Syrian armies caught Israel by surprise and gave the mighty Israel Defense Forces (IDF) a black eye in the opening days of the Yom Kippur War.

The attack by Hamas thus marks the second worst intelligence failure and surprise attack Israel has suffered. What’s more, many of the news reports of the Hamas assault sound strikingly like those from the Egyptian canal crossing in 1973 — almost certainly intentionally.

Like the 1973 Egyptian offensive, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) attacked Israel on all fronts, by land, sea and air — and, in this case, cyber as well. They secured strategic surprise; they created temporary advantages in numbers and firepower. They meticulously planned their operations and exploited a range of gaps in Israel’s fortifications, operating procedures, and tactics.

The assault by Hamas will unite Israel and its allies

Bronwen Maddox

It is impossible to overstate the sense of national shock in Israel. The barrage of missiles is one thing, but the sight of Hamas militants moving through Israeli villages shooting will be deeply disturbing to all Israeli citizens.

On Sunday Israel reported 700 had been killed in the attacks, with around 100 taken hostage. A country that famously describes itself as in a ‘tough neighbourhood’ and has poured its soul and its GDP into national defence, intelligence and the very cause of survival failed to foresee the assault or to respond quickly.

The US and other key Israel allies including the UK made immediate sweeping statements condemning Hamas. Other countries have joined in, notably India which had never before called Hamas a terrorist organization: the Modi government does not rush to associate itself with causes it thinks of as ‘Western’ but has its own concerns about terrorism.

These statements will be repeated in the emergency discussions of the UN Security Council. But that will not go far to solve a crisis that could have significant ramifications for the region and possibly for the Ukraine war.

The first question is over Israel’s response, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed will follow soon. He has portrayed himself as ‘Mr Security’, and this attack represents a real humiliation.

Landmines in Ukraine: Lessons for China and Taiwan

Lyle Goldstein and Nathan Waechter

For some time, specialists have debated how mines could play an important role in a Taiwan contingency. Analysts have focused, in particular, on how the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) could deploy sea mines both to blockade (PDF) Taiwan's ports, and also to try to keep the U.S. Navy away from the island. A related concept would involve using landmines extensively to help turn the island into a genuine “porcupine” and thus prevent, or at least slow down, a Chinese attack on Taiwan.

Chinese strategists have followed these discussions closely, of course, and are particularly attuned to the major role that landmines have played in the Ukraine War. That conflict increasingly shows signs of becoming a stalemate, as defensive technologies, such as man-portable air defense and anti-tank systems have demonstrated their value. A mid-2023 detailed Chinese-language survey of landmine warfare in the Ukraine War yields the conclusion that mines have played the most important role in stymieing the Ukrainian counteroffensive. The article states, “Landmines…as everyone knows, are easy to sow, but hard to remove.”

Somewhat paradoxically, PLA planners could be unnerved by this conclusion, since it may demonstrate anew the difficulties of the kind of rapid maneuver warfare that has long been envisioned for any hypothetical Chinese strike against Taiwan.

Distributed Deterrence: Trusting Our Allies More and Ourselves Less

Michael Hochberg

To date, the formula for the United States’ strategic interaction with most allies has been fairly direct: It revolved around the idea that allies need to defend themselves from attack until US forces can sweep in to their rescue, bringing a professional military with long-range weapons, modern aircraft, deep lockers of munitions, and other advanced capabilities to bear. Where these capabilities were crucial, the U.S. established forward bases, rather than handing the relevant capabilities to allies. This defensive formula was marvelously successful during the Cold War in preventing US allies from perceiving one another as significant threats, while serving as a guarantee of American support should the USSR or its proxies threaten an ally.

In the aftermath of the Cold War, this defensive strategy was allowed to atrophy; the absence of a peer adversary enabled the United States and its allies to imagine that a rules-based international order would dominate without robust western enforcement.

Though reliance on this strategy has persisted, it is fundamentally inapplicable to today’s problems: Small states on the border of large, nuclear-armed autocracies face an ongoing, existential threat from conventional attack. Only the local balance of forces and the assessed probability and cost of victory stop their autocratic neighbors from exploiting local weakness and attacking them. The autocratic, nuclear armed neighbors have the option to limit the response of the United States by threatening to use their nuclear arsenals.

The reality of intimidation and invasion is utterly foreign to the voting public in the United States, who have grown used to the idea that conventional wars are only fought overseas. The oceanic moats, coupled with the peaceful southern and northern borders of the United States, have limited the threats from foreign powers – the attacks on Pearl Harbor and 9/11 being the two notable exceptions of the 20th century.

Guns For Hire: America’s Crisis State Goes Global

John and Nisha Whitehead

From being a nation in a permanent state of emergency, America’s crisis state has gone global.

The military-industrial complex, which has established itself as the “solution” to all of our worldly problems (at taxpayer expense, of course), has mired the nation in endless wars abroad waged by U.S. military servicepeople who have been reduced to little more than guns for hire.

Every successive president starting with Franklin D. Roosevelt has been bought—lock, stock and barrel—and made to dance to the tune of the police state, a.k.a. the Deep State, a.k.a. the military industrial complex, a.k.a. the surveillance state complex.

Even Dwight D. Eisenhower, the retired five-star Army general-turned-president who warned against the disastrous rise of misplaced power by the military industrial complex was complicit in contributing to the build-up of the military’s role in dictating national and international policy.

The Biden Administration’s response to the latest carnage in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war merely plays into the hands of a salivating military industrial complex for whom war is merely a means to a larger profit margin.

Machine Learning for Operational Decisionmaking in Competition and Conflict

Eric Robinson, Daniel Egel & George Bailey

The integration of machine learning into military decision-making is widely seen as critical for the United States to retain its military dominance in the 21st century. Advances in machine learning have the potential to dramatically change the character of warfare by enhancing the speed, precision, and efficacy of decision-making across the national security enterprise. This report explores how machine learning can be leveraged to enable military decision-making at the operational level of competition and conflict as part of a collaboration between machine learning tools and human analysts.

The authors present a case study based on a machine learning-based analysis of real-world data about the conflict in eastern Ukraine prior to Russia's 2022 invasion. This case study places the reader in a commander's shoes, tasked with making decisions about the best types of support to provide Ukrainian forces to achieve shared objectives. This analysis demonstrates that machine learning can improve efficiency by helping human analysts leverage massive data sets that would be impractical for humans alone to examine. The authors found that machine learning has great potential to enable military decision-making at the operational level of war but only when paired with human analysts who possess a detailed understanding of the context behind a given problem.

The Net Neutrality Debate Is Back!


On 7 September, the U.S. Senate confirmed Anna Gomez as the newest commissioner for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), by a vote of 55-43. The successful confirmation returned the FCC’s count of commissioners to its normal five, filling a seat that had remained empty ever since former chairman Ajit Pai stepped down following Joe Biden’s inauguration in January 2021.

Gomez’s confirmation broke open an effective 2-2 deadlock at the FCC by adding a third Democratic-nominated commissioner to the agency. Just 19 days later, on 26 September, current FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel proposed to reestablish the rules that classified broadband service providers as common carriers.

In other words: Net neutrality—and the debate around it—is back.

Far from being a settled topic in the United States, the issue of whether or not to implement net neutrality has oscillated back and forth in recent years. This time around, the FCC is pointing to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure deal as reasons for classifying broadband as an essential service—putting it in the same category as water, power, and phone service. And the agency is likely to try to move fast, to try to implement the decision before next year’s elections.

A new American strategy for Ukraine


When he gives his crucial speech on Ukraine in coming days, President Biden needs to provide a different framing.

Helping Ukraine is still the right thing to do. But helping Ukraine “as long as it takes,” as Biden and his team are prone to say, is fundamentally unsatisfying — not only to MAGA Republicans, but increasingly to most Republicans and even to many non-Republicans, who wonder how long the United States should support an open-ended and currently stalemated war effort.

To be clear: I agree with Biden that we must help Ukraine remain sovereign, independent and well-defended. It would be a moral calamity to abandon Ukraine in a war that is totally Russia’s responsibility. It would ignore America’s obligations under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, in which we promised to help ensure its future security as a way of persuading Ukraine to give up the nearly 2,000 nuclear weapons it inherited from the Soviet Union. Worst of all, it would constitute a huge strategic risk, since a Putin who was victorious in Ukraine could then become a serious threat to NATO countries like Latvia and Estonia — risking direct conflict with the U.S.

But expressing an open-ended commitment without conditions or time horizons only makes obvious sense for existential wars of national survival. Otherwise, any strategist must periodically review the costs and benefits of various possible policies before simply continuing with the current approach. As a political practicality, Americans expect as much.

Building U.S. Responses to Russia's Threats to Use Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons

Krista Langeland, Anthony Vassalo, Clint Reach, Christopher Dictus & Gabrielle Tarini

Russia launched its war against Ukraine in early 2022, expecting a rapid victory. Ukrainian resistance in the ensuing months not only dispelled any notion of that outcome but has raised the possibility that Ukraine might win the war. Russian President Vladimir Putin has staked everything on this invasion, and he is unlikely to accept defeat without exhausting significant resources at his disposal. This dynamic between Ukrainian momentum and Russia's desperation has raised concerns that Russia might resort to nuclear escalation to turn the tide of the war. Given this reality, U.S. policymakers and planners must consider appropriate responses.

In this report, the authors attempt to identify such responses and levers using a game theory approach to the situation. They do so by first providing an overview of Russia's nuclear doctrine and capabilities, considering its discourse on nuclear escalation and declaratory policies relevant to the possible use of nonstrategic nuclear weapons (NSNWs). They then look at Russia's nuclear escalation through the lens of game theory, examining which potential levers for shifting decisionmaking and outcomes exist in the game. Finally, they assess how a particularly relevant historical example, the Kargil War, sheds light on possible U.S. responses for avoiding escalation without conceding to adversary demands.

Qualities Precede Quantities

Edward Geist

The discovery that the People's Republic of China is expanding its nuclear arsenal, Russia's "suspension" of the New START arms control treaty and aggression in Ukraine, and North Korea's evolving nuclear capabilities have led some to argue that the United States needs to expand its own nuclear forces to deter these potential adversaries. This Perspective articulates a framework for determining "how much is enough" for U.S. nuclear forces in the emerging strategic environment. The author argues that adversary perceptions, rather than quantitative comparisons, should be the primary criteria for sizing U.S. nuclear forces.

Ukraine’s Battle for Survival: A Report From the Front Line In Zaporizhzhia

Melinda Haring

Each time we hop in the grey SUV in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, the French battle cry “La Marseillaise” blasts from the radio.

Michael Sushko, an advisor to the Zaporizhzhia governor and my driver, grins and winks as he tears down the city’s main drag. Zaporizhzhia, a sleepy industrial city, sits one hour from the front and serves as a jumping-off point for Ukraine’s soldiers.

There are signs of war everywhere. At least three military supply stores dot the main street, and there’s visible damage to hotels, residential buildings, and factories.

Russia occupies almost seventy percent of the Zaporizhzhia region, but as I discovered during a recent visit, the locals remain defiant and utterly determined to retake their land. Fierce battles continue to rage across the Zaporizhzhia region as Ukraine attempts to seize its lands in a counteroffensive that began in June.
My Visit to Ukraine

To gain a better understanding of the Ukraine war, I traveled to the front together with Andrey Liscovich. Liscovich was described in early October in Wired as “a Victorian with an iPhone” and an integral part of a new “military-retail complex” that seeks to supply Ukraine with consumer-grade tech. I was fortunate to have this savvy entrepreneur as my guide. We traveled to the region on an overnight train from Kyiv. Upon arriving at the station, where local police methodically checked passports, we got caught up in a large crowd.

Russians intensify blitzkrieg attacks in eastern Ukraine


KYIV — Russian forces have launched a series of massive attacks involving thousands of troops as well as tanks and armored vehicles on Ukrainian positions in the east of the country in an effort to encircle Ukrainian forces.

The Ukrainian side has lost control over some positions on the northern outskirts of Avdiivka, but the military says it is still holding on to key parts of the industrial city, only 20 kilometers west of the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk. Avdiivka has been under continuous Russian attack for two days, and fires are burning throughout the shattered remnants of the city. Before the war, the city had a population of 32,000; some 1,700 civilians remain.

“The situation is difficult. Intense fighting continues for the second day. The encirclement threat has existed for almost a year, but our forces keep holding defense lines,” Vitalli Barabash, Adviivka military administration head, told POLITICO in a quick message from the frontline.

The Ukrainian military spelled out the scale of the attack in a briefing on Wednesday morning.

“Russian invaders used up to three battalions, supported by tanks and armored vehicles, intensified offensive actions in the vicinity of Avdiivka. Ukrainian defenders repelled all enemy attacks and prevented loss of lines and positions,” said Andriy Kovalyov, spokesperson of the Ukrainian general staff.

Army’s contested logistics team close to ‘fully’ operational: General Rainey


Army Staff Sgt. Elise Denning, assigned to Artificial Intelligence Integration Center, conducts maintenance on an unmanned aerial system in preparation for Project Convergence 2021 at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona. 

AUSA 2023 — The Army’s newest cross-functional team dedicated to contested logistics planning will be “fully” operational later this month, when it’ll begin in earnest to examine a host of technologies to sustain soldiers in remote locations, according to a four-star general in charge of the service’s future-focused outfit.

The contested logistics cross-functional team’s portfolio includes high-profile tech like autonomy applicable to larger manned and unmanned platforms, but also solutions for predictive logistics, autonomous resupply, alternative fuel sources and “all things batteries.”

“Contested logistics are hard enough without running a resupply operation and not getting the right thing: There’s a lot of room there for progress,” Army Future Command (AFC) Chief Gen. James Rainey told Breaking Defense in an interview ahead of this week’s Association of the United States Army conference in Washington, DC. “Autonomous and robotic resupply, leveraging all the new technology that’s out there… that you can do on land and at sea and in air.”

How the war in Ukraine is reshaping US Army modernization


Electronic warfare’s role in Russia’s war on Ukraine has pushed the U.S. Army to tweak its modernization plans to keep pace with the ongoing threats, the leader of Army Futures Command said Monday.

“We’ve got a moral responsibility to learn from this horrific war—to include the one they just started 72 hours ago—and I take that very seriously,” Gen. James Rainey told reporters at the annual Association of the U.S. Army conference in Washington, D.C. “I haven't seen anything that tells me our current modernization efforts are off track,” he said, adding that technological disruption seen in Ukraine has been unprecedented in speed and scale—with EW being a prime example.

Getting Army modernization plans right is complicated, he said, and so far, everything has fallen into place. But the nature of electronic warfare means plans must be tweaked.

“EW’s growth and scale—the iterative nature of it—is going to cause some adjustments,” Rainey said. “You can't field an EW capability. You have to have a capability that's EW resistant and you can have offensive EW capability that's configurable, because the enemy's gonna make adjustments.”

Rainey said EW “isn't impacting any major modernization,” but it’s something the Army has learned about as the war unfolds. The service is also still figuring out the effects of being in “constant contact,” whether it’s social media, the electromagnetic spectrum, or direct and indirect fire, he said.

Italy’s Mediterranean Jigsaw: Geopolitics of a Sidelined Former Power

Matteo Patergnani

Addressing Italy’s geopolitical performance objectively is certainly not a rewarding exercise or a herald of optimistic prospects. Nonetheless, identifying the core constraints of Italy, juxtaposing it with other regional and international players, and setting its quantitative and qualitative potential in an overall framework will allow us to avoid facile pessimism, albeit justified. This analysis shall focus on international and diplomatic ties, with sea trade and demographics as key factors to a state’s relative power and status.

This part of the century has so far seen Italy firmly anchored in the Western camp, more specifically in the American sphere of influence, and uneasily afloat in the Mediterranean area. Within these two poles – one of political significance, the other a tangible physical area – Italy exists and acts. Although the common feeling and international aspirations among Italians is just to imagine their nation being a first-rate member of the European Union, the reality should prompt a recognition of themselves as a pivotal player in the Mediterranean area. Since Unification, in this geographical arena, Italy has prided itself on an enviable central position straddling two narrow straits – that of Sicily and of Otranto – which lead from the Indo-Pacific via Suez to the hyper-productive heart of Europe. Along these routes around the Eurasian rimland, Italy continues to benefit from the near-optimal locations of gateway shipping ports to the Central European area such as Genoa and Trieste. The prosperity hitherto enjoyed by Italians lies not only in extraordinary production and technical capabilities, albeit those of a processing economy that procures nearly all its raw materials abroad. The security of its routes and supplies is also a sure product of globalization, guaranteed by US naval supremacy.

The Army’s new chief has a plan and it’s all about warfighting

Todd South

Gen. Randy George begins his tenure leading the Army as it faces a period of rapid change, competition with adversaries across the globe and a strained force. The new chief of staff intends to fuel that fight by distilling the complex set of challenges facing the force into a singular goal: ensuring the service is the best warfighting organization it can be.

The general was once a private, having enlisted out of his Iowa hometown, but by 1984 he was at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Graduating in 1988, the infantry officer first saw combat with the 101st Airborne Division as part of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm only two years later.

That operational career has informed how he wants to lead the Army through the coming years amid old and new demands on a smaller Army that’s expected to be everywhere it’s needed when called.

George, 58, talked with Army Times about his four focus areas, the generals he’s tasked with leading those efforts and what he expects from soldiers across the force.

The four areas sound simple but cover a wide range of what the Army, the largest service, must do to compete in today’s world and, if necessary, win in a conflict.

Those areas are warfighting, continuous transformation, strengthening the profession and delivering ready combat formations.

In George’s mind, each of those areas folds into a singular goal: Making the Army the world’s most effective fighting force.

US Army embraces lessons learned from war in Ukraine

Jen Judson

WASHINGTON — Expensive, massive tanks destroyed by small and cheap loitering munitions.
Drones helping artillery locate targets.

A battlefield so flooded with sensors that it’s impossible to stay hidden for long.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the Army has carefully taken note of these trends. Now those changes are reshaping the service’s plans from acquisition to how to approach formations to reimagining logistics. Already, the Army has rethought its plans to modernize tanks and altering its strategies with drones.

“The character of war is changing,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. Randy George told Defense News in an interview ahead of the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference. “It’s changed more in the last couple of years because of the war in Ukraine. And I think it will continue to change at a very rapid pace and we have to have the mindset to change with it.”

Gen. James Rainey, who leads Army Futures Command, the service’s organization in charge of modernizing the force, said the service needs to adapt its artillery strategy based on both “what’s happening in Ukraine” as well as what U.S. Army Pacific requires from conventional fires.

“Everything we’re seeing in Ukraine [is] about the relevance of precision fires, all the emerging technology, but the big killer on the battlefield is conventional artillery, high-explosive artillery,” he said.

Ukraine Situation Report: Kyiv Braced For Unprecedented Winter Drone War


As winter draws closer, Ukraine is preparing for an even fiercer Russian drone offensive than that which was launched against its cities and infrastructure last year. The Russian drone attacks, which make particularly heavy use of Iranian-designed Shahed-series drones, have already stepped up considerably in recent weeks, Ukrainian officials say.

According to Yuriy Ihnat, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian Air Force, attacks by Russian ‘suicide drones’ are expected to reach a record number this winter. Ihnat was speaking on Ukrainian national television, his remarks subsequently being reported by Reuters.

The country’s energy infrastructure is, once again, expected to be the main target of drone strikes, repeating Russian tactics from last winter, which left millions of Ukrainians without power. Repairs to the energy infrastructure are still ongoing as of now, and grid operators have been imposing regular rolling power cuts and rationing of hot water.

Fragments of an Iranian-made Shahed-136 drone (named Geran-2 by Russia), displayed as a symbol of war in the center of Kyiv.