18 October 2023

Israel prepares ground assault on Gaza as Palestinians flee

Nidal Al-Mughrabi and John Davison

Israel was preparing on Saturday to launch a ground assault in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, after telling Palestinians living in the densely populated territory to flee south towards a closed border with Egypt.

The Israeli national security adviser meanwhile warned Lebanese militant group Hezbollah not to start a war on a second front, threatening the "destruction of Lebanon" if it did.

Israel has vowed to annihilate Hamas in retaliation for a rampage in which its fighters stormed through Israeli towns a week ago, shooting civilians and seizing scores of hostages in the worst attack on civilians in Israel's history.

Some 1,300 people were killed in an onslaught that shocked Israel over the killing and graphic mobile phone footage and reports from medical and emergency services of atrocities in the towns and kibbutzes that were overrun.

In response, Israeli jets and artillery have subjected Gaza to the most intense bombardment it has ever seen, putting the enclave, home to 2.3 million Palestinians, under total siege.

Gaza authorities say more than 2,200 people have been killed, a quarter of them children, and nearly 10,000 wounded. Rescue workers searched desperately for survivors of nighttime air raids.

Thousands of Palestinians fled the north of the Gaza Strip on Saturday from the path of the expected Israeli ground assault, while Israel pounded the area with more air strikes and said it kept two roads open to let people escape.

Lessons for the US military from Ukraine and Israel


Hamas’s shocking attack was the largest incursion into Israel since the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Lessons from that conflict shaped modern U.S. defense, and Israel’s next war could have similar effects on American military thought. While the ripples of what some are calling Israel’s 9/11 remain to be seen, there is no doubt that the world will be plunged into a period of instability that should concern all Americans, especially as the war in Ukraine rages on.

Since Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, the Western market for lessons learned has been booming. A torrent of such commentary began only months into the conflict, to the point that Ukraine has become the U.S. defense community’s distance learning classroom. Most of these lessons involve Kyiv’s exploitation of commercial technologies, or high-level discussions on the perceived value of attrition and maneuver strategies. Senior U.S. defense officials, such as Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin and Secretary of the Army Christine E. Wormuth, have commented on the need to absorb these lessons into the government’s policies and military plans.

The logic behind this movement is well founded. Russia’s attack on Ukraine is the most significant conventional ground conflict involving a major state competitor of the U.S. since the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988). Much has changed since then, especially regarding technology and the character of war, so America’s voyeuristic fascination with learning lessons is natural.

Yet three factors have received far too little attention: Ukraine’s proximity to material support from NATO, the number of human beings required to wage a conventional war and the vulnerability of technological dependency in modern warfare.



On Saturday, the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas launched a land and sea attack on Israel along with a barrage of thousands of rockets. Rocket attacks are nothing new for Israel or its world-renowned Iron Dome air defense system, but as rockets continued to pour into the country, it soon became evident that not all inbound weapons were being intercepted.

In our modern upvote/downvote culture, we have a habit of robbing complex topics of their nuance, and air defense is no exception. The common perception that modern air defenses serve as something akin to a shield capable of stopping all incoming threats, however, isn’t reality. Air defense is an extremely complex enterprise, and even the best systems in the world can’t stop everything.


An Iron Dome interceptor missile. 

Israel’s Iron Dome is a mobile short-range missile defense system developed by the Israeli companies Rafael, Elta Systems, and mPrest Systems with a specific focus on intercepting the sorts of short-range rockets and artillery attacks often mounted by Hezbollah (from Lebanon) and Hamas (from the Gaza Strip). Its development started in 2007 and it became operational in 2011.

Like many other air defense systems, an Iron Dome battery is comprised of multiple separate components, including a battle-management system, a fire control radar array, and between three and four launchers, each capable of carrying up to 20 Tamir missile interceptors.

Hamas’ Attack: Failures of Deterrence and Imagination Are Lessons Beyond Israel .

Michael Shoebridge

Hamas’ murderous attack into Israel used a combination of high tech and low tech tools and weapons. The planners banked on Israeli security forces seeing the rocket and missile barrage launched by Hamas as the main attack – and also relied on Israelis assuming that its sophisticated air defence network would defeat it, so there was no need to do much more than wait. This is how the conflict between Israeli security forces and Hamas has played out for the last five years, so there was an expected pattern.

But the rocket barrage was a distraction. At the same time, Hamas terrorists used armed small drones to destroy and damage Israeli surveillance towers and automated machine gun emplacements along the Gaza border fence with Israel. And they used bulldozers to break through the fence and open the way for gangs of Hamas terrorists to move through – some on motorbikes so they could, disperse across the towns and villages of Southern Israel and some ready to seize vehicles inside Israel. All were heavily armed with assault weapons to kill and injure the maximum number of Israelis and Israeli military personnel.

Early reporting has focused on use of paragliders and boats to enter Israel, but it seems that the larger numbers of terrorists relied on the bulldozers breaching the fence and Israeli border surveillance being blinded by the armed drone attacks, together with the distraction of security force attention onto the rocket barrages.

The mass killings and abductions that followed were low tech murders and mayhem: small groups of terrorists searching for victims and gunning them down with automatic weapons, abducting others for use later as hostages, human shields and victims of violence and abuse. This will drag in other nations and governments whose citizens have been abducted – with US citizens and no doubt others – EU citizens for example – amongst the some 150 people kidnapped by Hamas.

Hamas and the Immorality of the "Decolonial" Intellectuals

Alex Joffe & Asaf Romirowsky

Intellectuals have a deep addiction to terror. From the French revolutionaries of the late 18th century who invoked Jean Jacques Rousseau to the physician ideologues of ISIS like Ayman al-Zawahiri, intellectuals have been at the forefront of justifying and instigating mass violence.

The latest iteration of this intellectual tradition of terror is “decolonization.” The invasion of Israel and the murder of over 1300 Israelis to date have illustrated this mindset at work.

In the wake of the slaughter, Walaa Alqaisiya, a research fellow at Columbia University, wrote “Academics like to decolonize through discourse and land acknowledgments. Time to understand that Decolonization is NOT a metaphor. Decolonization means resistance of the oppressed and that includes armed struggle to LITERALLY get our lands and lives back!”

Likewise, for Uahikea Maile, Assistant Professor of Indigenous Politics in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto, “From Hawaiʻi to Palestine—occupation is a crime. A lāhui [Nation, race, tribe, people, or nationality] that stands for decolonization and de-occupation should also stand behind freedom for Palestine.”

Leave aside the malleable notion of “settler colonialism,” which is regularly leveled at Israel as well as Western states like the U.S. and Australia but never at Muslim, Arab, or African ones. Many pro-Palestinian intellectuals have long claimed that “resistance” may include any means and may not be criticized. For academics, who dominate wide swaths of academia, the notion of “decolonization” has been cited but with little specificity regarding the term’s meaning, at least in practical terms.

Hamas, Israel, And The Collapse Of The Fiat Global Order

Tho Bishop

This past weekend, the world witnessed absolute barbarism play out as Hamas agents brutally targeted Israeli civilians. The State of Israel, suffering from a historic failure to protect its residents, has predictably responded with major military operations in the Gaza strip. The result is a growing regional conflict fueled by historic feuds beyond the scale of traditional geopolitical considerations.

Add to this the ongoing war in Ukraine, a less-talked-about conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the threat of renewed fighting between Kosovo and Serbia, and the world is witnessing the breakdown of a global order established by modern assumptions that are being exposed.

In the later part of his career, Murray Rothbard identified the Whig theory of history as one of the most dangerous intellectual traps in existence. The general belief that society is in a constant march toward progress, that newer ideas reflect a natural upgrade over past wisdom, has been accepted by broad segments of the modern intellectual class. As Hans-Hermann Hoppe has critiqued, this theory underlies a number of modern assumptions about the world.

Whig hubris has resulted in a global order that has sowed the seeds of barbarism. The triumph of fiat money has created an economic system that enriches states and the politically connected at the expense of the rest of society. Technocratic public health initiatives created authoritarian states in the face of a global pandemic. Politically driven climate hysteria has prompted a policy agenda that is gambling away human well-being on utopian promises of a “green energy” revolution.

Israel: Hamas And Islamic Jihad Attack

Can Kasapoğlu

This open-source intelligence assessment examines the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) employed by Hamas and Islamic Jihad and examines the possibility of Hezbollah’s involvement as the conflict evolves.

Tactical Assessment and Strategic Analysis of the Attacks

The terror plot unleashed on Israel by Hamas and Islamic Jihad this week revealed sophisticated planning and execution at both the strategic and tactical levels. Available evidence also highlights both networks’ close ties to Iran.

The attacks demonstrated an echeloned and detailed offensive plan: while some Islamic Jihad and Hamas units operated as death squads, others worked to establish and maintain a hostage-taking route from southern Israel into Gaza. The perpetrators will likely use the hostages as human shields and political leverage.

The campaign aimed to disrupt and confuse Israel’s intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) edge, and prevent the Israeli security apparatus from quickly developing an understanding of the attack. At the outset, Hamas dispatched drones to disable the observation towers tasked with surveilling the border area. It followed these opening moves with long-range volleys unleashing thousands of rockets, while paragliding squads flew into Israeli territory.

The Real Dividing Line in Israel-Palestine


While Hamas's outrageous acts of terrorism should be condemned unconditionally, one must not confuse what is really at issue in the Holy Land. The choice is not one hardline faction or the other; it is between the fundamentalists on both sides and all those who still believe in the possibility of peaceful co-existence.

LJUBLJANA – The barbarism that Hamas has unleashed on Israel should be condemned unconditionally, with no “ifs” or “buts.” The massacres, rapes, and abductions of civilians from villages, kibbutzim, and a music festival was a pogrom, confirming that Hamas’s true goal is to destroy the state of Israel and all Israelis. That said, the situation demands historical context – not as any kind of justification, but for the sake of clarity about the way forward.

A first consideration is the absolute despair that characterizes the lives of most Palestinians. Recall the spate of isolated suicidal attacks on the streets of Jerusalem around a decade ago. An ordinary Palestinian would approach a Jew, pull out a knife, and stab the victim, knowing full well that he or she would be immediately killed. There was no message in these “terrorist” acts, no shouts of “Free Palestine!” Nor was there any larger organization behind them. They were just individual acts of violent despair.

India’s Balancing Act Viewed Through Recent Military Exercises

Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

India has been trying to make sure that it has good relations with all major powers. This has become one of the key goals of Indian foreign policy. At the political level, India has been trying to make it work with the Quad as well as BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and many more minilateral partnerships in recent years. Extending this to military and security domains, India is again dabbling in opposing camps, engaging in simultaneous military exercises with both the United States and Russia, trying to balance its strategic interests.

The annual India-U.S. military exercise called Yudh Abhyas is being held in Alaska from September 25 to October 8. According to a statement from the Indian Ministry of Defense, the 19th edition of the exercise involves an Indian army contingent of 350 personnel, led by the Maratha Light Infantry Regiment. The U.S. side includes the 1-24 Infantry Battalion of 1st Brigade Combat Team. This edition is centered on the theme, “Employment of an Integrated Battle Group in Mountain/ Extreme Climatic Conditions” under Chapter VII of the United Nations mandate and will involve both sides engaging in “a series of tactical drills to enhance interoperability” as well as exchange their experiences and best practices while deployed in U.N. peacekeeping operations.

As part of the field exercise, the two armies’ engagement will include “validation of Integrated Battle Groups against hostile forces at the Brigade level, Integrated Surveillance Grid at the Brigade/ Battalion level, employment of Heliborne/ Airborne elements and Force Multipliers, validation of logistics and casualty management during operations, evacuation and combat medical aid and other aspects as applicable to High Altitude Areas and Extreme Climatic Conditions.”

Pakistan’s Fatal Electricity Bills

Kunwar Khuldune Shahid

This summer in Pakistan, the end of every month witnessed numerous suicides by power consumers unable to pay their electricity bills. The crisis peaked in August, which saw a significant hike in electricity bills, and as a result, in a number of people taking their own lives over their inability to pay them.

These included, among many others, an old man who jumped off a bridge in Islamabad, a young man who shot himself in Faisalabad, a payphone operator in Peshawar who set himself on fire, and an Islamic cleric who overdosed on toxic pills in Sheikhupura. A prominent case from Jahanian dominated the news cycles when a mother of four consumed poison after days of hunger faced by her children following a 10,000 Pakistani rupee ($35) bill that the family could not pay.

Fozia Bibi, a widowed mother of three who lives in a small rented room in Lahore’s Charrar Pind, also received a 10,000 rupee bill in August. Bibi works as domestic help in the neighboring military-owned Defense Housing Authority, where she manages to make 20,000 rupees a month working at three different homes. The latest electricity bill meant that Bibi’s utility bills and rent alone have crossed her monthly income.

“I too would have taken my life, if I didn’t get financial support from my brothers,” she told The Diplomat while sitting at home alongside her elder brother, who has borrowed money at a heavy interest rate to help Bibi’s family survive the next few months.

The world will pay a high price if China cuts off supplies of chipmaking materials

Laura He

Just one month after China announced it would curb exports of germanium and gallium, both essential for making semiconductors, its overseas shipments of the materials fell to zero.

Beijing says it has since approved some export licenses but the restrictions are a stark warning that China has a powerful weapon it can deploy in the escalating trade war over the future of tech. The curbs came after the United States, Europe and Japan restricted sales of chips and chipmaking equipment to China to cut off its access to key technology that can be used by the military.

“It is still early to tell how tight the restrictions would be. [But] if China ends up blocking a large amount of exports, it will cause a disruption in the supply chain for the immediate consumers,” said Xiaomeng Lu, director for geotechnology at Eurasia Group.

China enjoys a near monopoly on the production of the two elements. Last year, it accounted for 98% of the global production of gallium and 68% of refined germanium production, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

While there are alternatives for the United States and its allies, constructing an independent supply chain for gallium and germanium processing could require a “staggering” investment of over $20 billion, according to Marina Zhang, an associate professor at University of Technology Sydney. And it could take years to develop.

“Refining technologies and facilities for processing gallium and germanium cannot be built overnight, particularly considering the environmental implications of their extraction and mining,” she wrote in July.

The Future Of AI Policy In China

Huw Roberts and Emmie Hine

Rapid developments in generative artificial intelligence (AI) — algorithms used to create new text, pictures, audio, or other types of content — are concerning regulators globally. These systems are often trained on personal and copyrighted data scraped from the internet, leading to privacy and intellectual property fears. They can also be used to generate harmful misinformation and disinformation.

On 15 August 2023, a new Chinese law designed to regulate generative AI came into force. This law, the latest in a series of regulations targeting different aspects of AI, is internationally groundbreaking as the first law that specifically targets generative AI. It introduces new restrictions for companies providing these services to consumers regarding both the training data used and the outputs produced.

Despite these new restrictions on companies, the evolution of the draft text, combined with changes in the wider tech policy context, could mistakenly be taken to indicate that China is starting to relax its drive towards strong regulatory oversight of AI.

Commentators have been quick to observe that the final generative AI regulation is significantly watered downcompared to an earlier draft published for comment. Requirements to act within a three-month period to rectify illegal content and to ensure that all training data and outputs are ‘truthful and accurate’ were removed. It also clarified that these rules only apply to public-facing generative AI systems. A new provision specifying that development and innovation should be weighted equally with the security and governance of systems was also added.

China Boosts Semiconductor Subsidies as US Tightens Restrictions

Arrian Ebrahimi

Headlines flashed last week as the U.S. Commerce Department finalized guardrails limiting expansion in China by companies receiving subsidies under the 2022 CHIPS and Science Act. Less widely covered, however, was China’s latest round of semiconductor incentives, upping the ante in its effort to reduce reliance on U.S.-controlled technology.

With China already boasting chip subsidies worth at least $150 billion in 2022, on September 19 China’s Ministry of Finance further upgraded the country’s tax credit for investments in semiconductor R&D by 20 percent. This new subsidy comes in the face of U.S. export controls, issued in October 2022 and rumored to be strengthened in late 2023. These restrictions have left Chinese policymakers scrambling for alternatives to advanced U.S.-controlled computer technology. These export controls, as well as the recently finalized guardrails prohibiting chipmakers receiving U.S. subsidies from expanding in China for 10 years, leave Beijing to plan for an economy receiving limited support from foreign chipmakers.

As Nicholas Mulder argued in his 2022 book “The Economic Weapon: The Rise of Sanctions as a Tool of Modern War,” countries facing sanctions often learn to adapt their economies, either by finding new trading partners or by “home-shoring” supply chains. Some industry leaders in China do not agree that it is advisable or even possible to develop an all-domestic chip ecosystem.

Report to Congress on Chinese Naval Modernization

China’s military modernization effort, including its naval modernization effort, is the top focus of U.S. defense planning and budgeting. China’s naval modernization effort has been underway for about 30 years, since the early to mid-1990s, and has transformed China’s navy into a much more modern and capable force. China’s navy is a formidable military force within China’s near-seas region, and it is conducting a growing number of operations in the broader waters of the Western Pacific, the Indian Ocean, and waters around Europe.

China’s navy is, by far, the largest of any country in East Asia, and sometime between 2015 and 2020 it surpassed the U.S. Navy in numbers of battle force ships (meaning the types of ships that count toward the quoted size of the U.S. Navy). DOD states that China’s navy “is the largest navy in the world with a battle force of approximately 340 platforms, including major surface combatants, submarines, ocean-going amphibious ships, mine warfare ships, aircraft carriers, and fleet auxiliaries…. This figure does not include approximately 85 patrol combatants and craft that carry anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCM). The … overall battle force [of China’s navy] is expected to grow to 400 ships by 2025 and 440 ships by 2030.” The U.S. Navy, by comparison, included 290 battle force ships as of October 5, 2023, and the Navy’s FY2024 budget submission projects that the Navy will include 290 battle force ships by the end of FY2030. U.S. military officials and other observers are expressing concern or alarm regarding the pace of China’s naval shipbuilding effort and resulting trend lines regarding the relative sizes and capabilities of China’s navy and the U.S. Navy.

China’s naval modernization effort encompasses a wide array of ship, aircraft, weapon, and C4ISR (command and control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) acquisition programs, as well as improvements in logistics, doctrine, personnel quality, education and training, and exercises. China’s navy currently has certain limitations and weaknesses, which it is working to overcome.

The Shapeshifting Crypto Wars

Susan Landau

By some counts, the “Crypto Wars” have been going on for a half century. Starting in the 1970s with claims that publication of cryptographic research would endanger national security, and continuing over whether the National Security Agency (NSA) should control the development of cryptographic standards for non-national security agencies, the Crypto Wars then focused on export control. In effect, this determined whether U.S. products with strong cryptography would be exported—and thus whether there would be strong cryptography available within the U.S.

When the European Union and the United States loosened cryptographic export controls at the turn of the millennium, it looked as if the technologists—who had fought for this—had won. By the end of the 2000s, major manufacturers began encrypting data on consumer devices, including phones, and, shortly afterward, in communications. The latter involved end-to-end encryption (E2EE), a method of securing communications so that only the message endpoints (the sender and receiver of the message) can view the unencrypted message.

But law enforcement has always taken issue with encryption, including E2EE, being widely publicly available. In 1995, FBI Director Louis Freeh told Congress that “[d]rug cartels, terrorists, and kidnappers will use telephones and other communications media with impunity.” As the years passed, wiretapping experienced “function creep,” the phenomenon in which the uses for a particular surveillance technology expand continually.

The Bolduc Brief: Evaluating the Leadership Failure of Generals and Admirals in Today’s Military

Donald Bolduc

In modern military operations, the role of Generals and Admirals is critical in shaping the direction and outcomes of defense strategies. However, there has been an increasing concern over the failure of these top-ranking officers to fulfill their duties effectively. This essay examines the reasons behind this perceived failure and the implications for our military today.

I am a retired General Officer, and I know these mistakes. I have taken responsibility for these failures and my shortcomings. Accountability, commitment, trust, and the truth have been marginalized in the military. It is time to change and restore the values and principles needed to ensure our military can do its job for the American people.

One of the primary reasons for the failure of Generals and Admirals is the disconnection between strategy and implementation. The military’s senior leadership seems to be concerned with their continued advancement, stuck at the tactical level, focused on conventional warfare mindsets, concerned with pleasing their political masters, and failing to adjust to the changing dynamics of modern warfare. This mindset and approach have caused a lack of innovative strategies, a critical factor in today’s rapidly evolving battlefield.

Russia’s 2024 Budget Shows It’s Planning for a Long War in Ukraine

Pavel Luzin & Alexandra Prokopenko

The Russian government has announced its proposed budget for 2024. For the first time in modern history, the country is set to spend 6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on the military, and defense spending will exceed social spending. The war against Ukraine and the West is not only the Kremlin’s biggest priority; it is now also the main driver of Russia’s economic growth.

The record defense spending shows that the Kremlin has no intention of ending its war against Ukraine anytime soon: on the contrary. Even if the fighting becomes less intense or the conflict becomes frozen, the money will go toward replenishing Russia’s depleted military arsenals. Likewise, it has enough cash to fund an escalation such as the imposition of martial law or full mobilization.

The new budget, which is awaiting approval from the State Duma, envisages that revenue will grow by more than a third in 2024, reaching 35 trillion rubles ($349 billion). Of that, 11.5 trillion rubles is expected to come from the oil and gas sector. Planned expenditure is 36.6 trillion rubles (a 26.2 percent rise on this year). This means that the budget deficit next year, at least according to the government’s plans, should significantly decrease—from a planned 2 percent of GDP in 2023 to 0.8 percent of GDP in 2024.

Social spending is forecast to increase by approximately 1 trillion rubles to 7.5 trillion rubles in 2024. Expenditure on national security (including on agencies like the National Guard internal military force and the Federal Penitentiary Service) will rise from 3.2 trillion rubles to 3.5 trillion rubles. Spending on education and healthcare, in contrast, will remain at this year’s level, meaning a real-term reduction in 2024.

Charles Brown becomes chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff: What we know about him


In the material below, RBC-Ukraine analyzes what is known about American General Brown and why his appointment is important for Ukraine.

Sources used to prepare this material: the press service of the U.S. Department of Defense, The New York Times, Washington Post, Air and Space Forces, "Viiskovyi Kurier," TIME, Politico.

What is the Joint Chiefs of Staff

The Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. Armed Forces is the highest leadership body for the United States military. It includes high-ranking officials from the country's Armed Forces, including the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Space Force. The Chief of the National Guard Bureau is also part of this group.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is appointed by the President of the United States for a four-year term and must be confirmed by the Senate.

Therefore, the replacement of Mark Milley with Charles Brown is a planned rotation, as the former has already served his term in this position.

The main role in this position is to advise the President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense on military matters, as well as perform other duties.

Over 80% of 4-star retirees are employed in defense industry


More than 80% of four-star officers retiring from the U.S. armed forces go on to work in the defense industry, a new study has found, underscoring the close relationship between top U.S. brass and government-contracted companies that has drawn scrutiny on Capitol Hill.

Twenty-six of 32 four-star admirals and generals who retired from June 2018 to July 2023 were later employed in roles including executive, adviser, board member or lobbyist for companies with significant defense business, according to the analysis from the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, a think tank that advocates for restraining the military’s role in U.S. foreign policy.

“The revolving door between the U.S. government and the arms industry, which involves hundreds of senior Pentagon officials and military officers every year, generates the appearance — and in some cases the reality — of conflicts of interest in the making of defense policy and in the shaping of the size and composition of the Pentagon budget,” authors William Hartung and Dillon Fisher wrote in the report, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post before its publication.

The analysis includes former officers employed by consulting firms with clients in the defense industry and financial firms with significant investments in that sector. Many of the employers cited in the report also have nondefense business interests.

When 80 percent of US generals go to work for arms makers


At a time when the Pentagon budget is soaring towards $1 trillion per year and debates about how to respond to the challenges posed by Russia and China are front and center, it is more important than ever to make an independent assessment of the best path forward.

Ideally, this would involve objective analysis by unbiased experts and policy makers grounded in a vigorous public conversation about how best to defend the country. But more often than not, special interests override the national interest in decisions on how much to spend on the Pentagon, and how those funds should be allocated.

One practice that introduces bias into the shaping of defense policy is the revolving door between the U.S. government and the weapons industry. The movement of retired senior officials from the Pentagon and the military services into the arms industry is a longstanding practice that raises serious questions about the appearance and reality of conflicts of interest. Mostly because employing well-connected ex-military officers can give weapons makers enormous, unwarranted influence over the process of determining the size and shape of the Pentagon budget.

A 2021 report by the Government Accountability Office found that 1,700 senior government officials had taken positions in the arms industry over a five year period, an average of well over 300 per year. And a new report from our organization, the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, found that this practice is particularly pronounced among top generals and admirals. In the past five years, over 80% of retired four-star generals and admirals (26 of 32) went on to work in the arms sector as board members, advisers, lobbyists, or consultants.

A Hacktivist Code of Conduct May Be Too Little Too Late


Recently, the International Committee of the Red Cross(ICRC) released ethical guidelines for civilian hackers and hacktivists to consider prior to engaging in armed conflicts. The eight recommendations are based on humanitarian law-based rules in order to protect civilians regardless of the reasons that initiated the conflict or making any judgment on those involved. Because International Humanitarian Law (IHL) doesn’t have provisions against offensive cyber operations, the guidelines stress the need for nonstate combatants to adhere to basic humanitarian principles when conducting operations in support of a state. IHL generally provides the rules that protect civilians during armed conflict, and any violations are subject to war crime consideration and may be prosecuted by international courts. Because impactful cyber attacks are not the sole purview of nation states, savvy groups and individuals are able to cause significant disruptions whose repercussions can directly affect those critical infrastructures and services on which civilians rely.

Clearly, the events in Ukraine have brought about the need for the ICRC to disseminate these guidelines as state-on-state armed conflict has allowed entry for nonstate entities in cyberspace to get involved and help their sides. Hacktivist activity against governments is not necessarily a new development. In the late 1990s, hacktivists associated with the Cult of the Dead Cow supported Chinese citizens by helping them access blocked websites. Fast forward to today, and the capabilities of hacktivist groups have grown substantially with groups able to engage in more disruptive attacks, ushering in the weaponization of hacktivism, a disconcerting turn of events given the lack of global cyber norm standardization that exists. While the results of these attacks by both pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian hacktivists have not been too detrimental, some of the incidents ascribed to them have involved the targeting of critical infrastructures. Railway sites and energy companies have already been targeted by these actors. What’s more, attacks have expanded past the two main states embroiled in the conflict, often targeting those perceived as allies or aiding the adversary. As such, private companies have been caught in the crosshairs of hacktivist operations.


Angelica Evans, Nicole Wolkov, Grace Mappes, Christina Harward, Kateryna Stepanenko, and Mason Clark

US and Ukrainian officials reported on October 12 and 13 that they anticipated the Russian offensive operations around Avdiivka and expressed confidence in Ukrainian defenses. US National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby reported on October 13 that the new Russian offensive operations near Lyman and Avdiivka “did not come as a surprise.”[1] Kirby stated that the US is confident that Ukrainian forces will repel these Russian attacks.[2] Kirby also reported that Russian forces appear to be using human wave tactics, wherein the Russian military uses masses of poorly trained and equipped Russian soldiers to attempt to advance - the same practice Russian forces used during their failed winter offensive in winter 2023.[3] ISW has additionally observed Russian forces using higher than usual numbers of armored vehicles in ongoing operations.[4] Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) Representative Andriy Yusov similarly reported on October 12 that Ukrainian forces knew about and prepared for the Russian attack near Avdiivka and that Russian forces did not form sufficient reserves to attack along the entire frontline, but only in certain sectors.[5] Several Russian milbloggers claimed that Ukrainian mines are slowing Russian advances near Avdiivka, indicating Ukrainian prior preparations for the attack.[6]

The Russian information space remains divided on the prospects of Russian successes near Avdiivka and on current Ukrainian capabilities. Geolocated footage published on October 13 indicates that Russian forces marginally advanced north of the waste heap north of Avdiivka.[7] Additional geolocated footage published on October 14 indicates that Russian forces also advanced south of Avdiivka.[8] Some Russian sources claimed on October 13 and 14 that Ukrainian defensive fortifications pose a significant challenge to Russian advances around Avdiivka.[9] Some Russian sources indicated that Russian problems with medical support are also impeding Russian advances in the Avdiivka area.

Is AI a Master or Slave?


BERLIN – We are living through eventful – one might even say “wild” – times, with history being made at a fast and furious pace. Why is this happening now? Because three great transformational crises have befallen humanity all at once. Each of today’s geopolitical, climatic, and digital transformations would pose enough of a challenge on its own, but we are experiencing them simultaneously. An unprecedented global mega-crisis is threatening to overwhelm our political and cultural systems’ capacities for adaptation or maintaining control.

Each passing year of record-breaking temperatures, wildfires, droughts, and extreme weather events underscores the scale of the climate crisis. Though its long-term global implications are extraordinarily complex, the basic nature of the problem is well understood. The solutions are known, but the politics for achieving them are maddeningly difficult. By contrast, the consequences of the digital transformation remain more uncertain. Just in the past year, humanity has opened a new technological door with breakthroughs in generative artificial intelligence (AI), and no one knows for sure what lies on the other side.

One big difference between these two developments is that the effects of AI could still be stopped, even reversed, at least in principle. However, one doubts that they actually will be. Both historical experience and the underlying logic of research and technological development suggest that the AI revolution will continue to gain momentum.

The Tech Trinity: Artificial Intelligence, BioTech, Quantum Tech


Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Tech, and Bio Tech will make monumental shifts in the world. This new Tech Trinity will redefine our economy, both threaten and fortify our national security, and revolutionize our intelligence community. None of us are ready for this. These three technologies are individually incredible and transformative, but together they are even more powerful and more virtuous. Making the most of their contributions to humanity will require a commitment to foresight and planning on a level that is not occurring anywhere.

These three megatrends of tech are not new of course. The study of biology dates back 1000’s of years. Quantum science began in 1905. AI arose in the late 1950’s. But the character of these three technologies are very different today. Today each are delivering dramatic new capabilities at a breathtaking pace. And each are already having an impact on real world solutions. Each are also fueling developments in the other fields and each are becoming more and more integrated into the other.

It is this convergence that is getting really exciting. This is what points to even more positive change in the very near future.

How will the new Tech Trinity change things? At a high level, consider that AI makes BioTech more powerful, Quantum Tech can deliver new AI capabilities impossible with classical computers, Quantum Sensing gives new insights into the realities of the world, BioTech can extend and improve human life and human cognition and can also provide new compute platforms. See, it is all becoming related.

The convergence of the tech trinity will very likely reshape every industry and every aspect of governments at all levels. Here are some other examples just to start exploring the convergence of the new Tech Trinity, broken into categories of the economy, national security and intelligence community:

Marine Officer explains why Gen Z won’t join the military

Team Mighty

The youth of today seems to have zero interest in joining the military and the military can’t seem to figure out why that is. They’ve done studies, conducted polls and the Army even knows that Gen Z has some serious misconceptions about the military. Despite a $4 billion investment in marketing to Gen Z, the combined branches of the military will miss their recruiting goals by nearly 19,000 in 2023.

Many people in the military and in government believe the recruiting crisis is a serious national security risk, but the military itself just keeps falling short of reaching (or appealing to) Americans born after 1997 – so-called Generation Z. But one Marine officer, a lieutenant and a member of that generation, has written a book detailing what he believes are problems and solutions, and presents research to back it up.

Lt. Matthew Weiss took it upon himself to research and write “We Don't Want You, Uncle Sam: Examining the Military Recruiting Crisis with Generation Z." As a member of Gen Z with a background working for the defense technology firm Anduril Industries, he saw how companies jockey to attract and retain young talent coming from anywhere in the country. He also earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School before joining the Corps.

Most importantly, the military was able to attract him, a talented, educated 25-year-old man who could have done anything. Knowing why he, a member of the military’s key target demographic, decided to join the Marine Corps is probably the most unique insight of all.