4 November 2023

American Commandos Are in Israel Helping to Locate Hostages, Pentagon Say

Eric Schmitt

American commandos on the ground in Israel are helping locate the more than 200 hostages seized during Hamas’s surprise cross-border attacks on Oct. 7, the Pentagon’s top special operations policy official said on Tuesday.

“We’re actively helping the Israelis to do a number of things,” Christopher P. Maier, an assistant secretary of defense, told a special operations conference in Washington. He said that a main task was to help Israel “identify hostages, including American hostages. It’s really our responsibility to do so.”

Mr. Maier declined to say how many U.S. Special Operations forces were currently in Israel. But other U.S. officials say the Defense Department has dispatched several dozen commandos in recent weeks, in addition to a small team that was in Israel on Oct. 7 conducting previously scheduled training.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss operational matters, said the commandos would join F.B.I., State Department and other U.S. government hostage-recovery specialists in their discussions with Israeli counterparts.

U.S. Aircraft Carriers And Warships Are On The Move And That’s A Problem For Iran

Peter Suciu

The Mighty Ike Has Entered the Mediterranean Sea – Part of the Largest Collection of U.S. Warships in the Region in Decades: The Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (IKECSG) is now sailing in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea after transiting the Strait of Gibraltar over the weekend. By direction of the Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, IKECSG will transit to U.S. Central Command to demonstrate its readiness to flex to any contingency, the U.S. Navy announced this week.

“Our arrival in the Mediterranean, en route to CENTCOM, provides reassurance to our allies and partners that we are committed to ensuring their security and well-being,” said Rear Adm. Marc Miguez, commander, Carrier Strike Group 2 (CSG-2), IKECSG. “Our presence, along with that of the Gerald R. Ford Carrier strike group, demonstrates the combat power and proficiency of the Navy’s deployed forces.”

The strike group is comprised of the flagship aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN69), the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG 58), the guided-missile destroyers USS Mason (DDG 87) and USS Gravely (DDG 107) of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 22, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 with its nine squadrons, and the Information Warfare Commander.

America’s trade-off: Israel, Ukraine, and the inescapable China question

Jeremy Shapiro

Rule number one in American governance is: never admit to trade-offs. “We are the United States of America, for God’s sake,” US president Joe Biden defiantly told 60 Minutes when confronted with the idea of a trade-off between Ukraine and Israel. “The most powerful nation in the world, in the history of the world. We can take care of both of these [wars].”

Biden’s confidence reflects a long-held view in Washington that the only factor limiting the American arsenal of democracy is political will. The United States is the superpower, the country that invented baseball, online dating, and unwise wars of choice – it can do whatever it sets its mind to. But behind the bravado and national myths, even the very rich and powerful face limits to their power.

For the US, the inexorable trade-offs between the wars in Gaza and Ukraine exist principally on three levels. The most obvious and consequential in the short term is on the very material level of resources. But in the longer term, two more political trade-offs – political capital and domestic endurance – may matter more


The war in Ukraine has deeply stressed US and Western stocks of certain critical types of ammunition and weapons. The Pentagon has been scrambling, for example, to source artillery shells and to ramp up production in the US and among its allies. So far, it has met with limited success – the US has had to delay weapons deliveries to Taiwan, while the Ukrainian military has rationed shells on the battlefield. The Biden administration decided to ship morally questionable cluster munitions to Ukraine, largely because it lacked sufficient supplies of other types of artillery shell.

Israel-Hamas Conflict: Lessons from Afghanistan

Omer Niazi

In the present landscape of Middle Eastern geopolitics, the Israel-Hamas conflict stands as a volatile fuse. If mishandled, it threatens to spark a more expansive regional conflagration. The lessons from Afghanistan remain a stark reminder of the repercussions of post-9/11 interventions that lacked a clear endgame strategy, eventually spiraling into a conflict spanning two decades.

The current posture toward the Israel-Hamas conflict appears heavily tilted toward military measures. If recent history teaches us anything, including the Afghanistan aftermath, it’s that military solutions without long-term political strategy often offer temporary relief at best, leaving deep-seated issues unresolved.

For over two decades, the U.S. policy apparatus resisted recognizing the necessity of a negotiated settlement to end the Afghanistan war—a conflict that resulted in nearly 176,000 casualties. In the aftermath of 9/11 and during the early stages of the conflict with the Taliban, the United States and its allies sidestepped diplomatic engagements, opting instead for a predominantly military strategy despite calls by policymakers in DC acknowledging that there was no military solution to the war. Senior State Department officials advocated for diplomacy and negotiation with the Taliban to President George W. Bush as the United States’ initial response to 9/11. The United States chose to declare war.


Ashka Jhaveri, Johanna Moore, Kathryn Tyson, Brian Carter, Annika Ganzeveld, and Nicholas Carl

The Iran Update provides insights into Iranian and Iranian-sponsored activities abroad that undermine regional stability and threaten US forces and interests. It also covers events and trends that affect the stability and decision-making of the Iranian regime. The Critical Threats Project (CTP) at the American Enterprise Institute and the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) provides these updates regularly based on regional events. For more on developments and in Iran and the region, see our interactive map of Iran and the Middle East.

CTP and ISW have refocused the update to cover the Israel-Hamas war. The new sections address developments in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Lebanon, and Syria, as well as noteworthy activity from Iran’s Axis of Resistance. We do not report in detail on war crimes because these activities are well-covered in Western media and do not directly affect the military operations we are assessing and forecasting. We utterly condemn violations of the laws of armed conflict and the Geneva Conventions and crimes against humanity even though we do not describe them in these reports.

Key Takeaways:
  • Palestinian militias in the Gaza Strip conducted indirect fire attacks into Israel at their usual rate. Palestinian militias continued to launch attacks on the Erez military site from the northern Gaza Strip after the IDF advanced from there on October 29.
  • Israeli forces advanced into Beit Hanoun in the northeastern Gaza Strip to conduct clearing operations. Israeli forces also extended their positions along the coastal line in the northwestern Gaza Strip.
  • Local media and Palestinian militias claimed to engage Israeli forces moving westward south of Gaza City.
  • Palestinian militants clashed with Israeli forces at their usual rate in the West Bank. Students held large, anti-Israel demonstrations across the West Bank.
  • Iranian-backed militants, including Lebanese Hezbollah, conducted nine attacks into Israel as part of an ongoing attack campaign targeting IDF radar and sensor sites and military targets.
  • Lebanese Hezbollah and Iran are creating the expectation in the information environment that Hezbollah will escalate against Israel on or around November 3, possibly by increasing the rate of attack or by using more advanced systems.
  • The Houthis launched drones, ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles targeting Israel, marking the third attempted Houthi attack since the war began.
  • An unidentified US military official reported that unidentified militants attacked US troops in four separate locations on October 30.
  • Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian traveled to Qatar for further political coordination with Hamas leadership.

The tactics behind Israel’s ground offensive

James Shotter, Neri Zilber and Mehul Srivastava, and Andrew England

Israel responded to Hamas’s devastating assault on October 7 with the biggest mobilisation in the nation’s history. But when its tanks and troops finally entered Gaza this weekend, it was not the full-scale invasion some had expected. 

Current and former officials said the seemingly limited scope of Israel’s initial incursion — which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dubbed the “second stage” of Israel’s war with Hamas — reflected a complex mix of factors. But above all, Israel wanted to maximise its firepower advantage over Hamas and minimise its own casualties, while attempting to avoid drawing other adversaries into the war, they added. 

On a tactical level, the smaller than expected footprint meant ground troops could more easily be provided with close air support — crucial cover for entering parts of northern Gaza where Hamas has spent years preparing defences, according to one person familiar with Israel’s battle plans. 

“We are not taking any chances,” said Amir Avivi, former deputy commander of the Gaza Division of Israel’s military. “When our soldiers are manoeuvring we are doing this with massive artillery, with 50 aeroplanes overhead destroying anything that moves.” 

Officials say the fighting in Gaza will be intense: Hamas has trained for urban combat and has built a huge network of tunnels, nicknamed the “Gaza Metro”, which helps move fighters and weapons undetected. The militant group also has an arsenal of anti-tank weapons and improvised explosive devices. 

Under Shroud of Secrecy, Israel Invasion of Gaza Has Begun

Patrick Kingsley and Ronen Bergman

When Israeli ground forces advanced en masse into the Gaza Strip on Friday evening, just after the Jewish Sabbath began, they did it so secretly that it was hours before the outside world understood what had happened.

In the three days since the long-anticipated invasion began, Israel’s military has operated with a similar ambiguity, defying expectations by carrying out a more incremental ground operation than was initially anticipated. While it has continued to decimate Gaza and its people with aerial bombardments, much of the ground force appears to have hung back from Gaza City, Hamas’s stronghold in northern Gaza, and stayed instead in the countryside on the city’s fringes.

Under U.S. pressure to temper their response to the Hamas killing of more than 1,400 people on Israeli soil, Israel has even avoided describing the operation as an invasion. The loss of life, though, in Gaza continues to rise, with the Palestinian death toll so far over 8,000, according to Hamas officials.

“Everything is happening in darkness,” said Andreas Krieg, a war expert at King’s College, London, adding that “there’s a very small group of people who actually know what’s going on, even inside Israel.”

In first, Israel’s Arrow air defense system intercepts ballistic missile near Red Sea


Israel’s Arrow air defense system for the first time intercepted a ballistic missile today, in an attempted strike believed to have been launched from Yemen.

The Israeli Defense Forces said the interception was the first operational use of the Arrow system since Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack, and that it “thwarted an aerial threat in the area of the Red Sea.” The IDF later said the missile was fired toward Israel but was intercepted before it could reach its target.

“All aerial threats were intercepted outside of Israeli territory. No infiltrations were identified into Israeli territory,” the IDF said.

Though the IDF did not say who responsible for the missile, the Houthi armed group reportedly claimed responsibility, and Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has accused the Houthis of a similar attack last week. An Oct. 28 would-be strike using drones and missiles, attributed to the Houthis, was intercepted by fire from a US naval ship. Since Hamas’s attack on Israel on Oct. 7, other groups back by Iran have sporadically joined in the fighting, including attempted strikes from the Houthis in Yemen and deadly skirmishes between Lebanese Hezbollah and Israeli forces along Israel’s northern border.

The day before the Oct. 28 interceptions by the USS Carney, Israeli aircraft managed to intercept other threats near the Red Sea using aircraft, the IDF said.

Ukraine pleads with the U.S. to ramp up support against Russia


Ukrainian officials and allies in Europe are ramping up their lobbying campaign in the U.S. for new weapons and training, as Washington’s support for the war appears imperiled by new House leadership and a crisis in the Middle East.

In the most recent example, a delegation of Ukrainian officials, troops and advisers visited America’s capital late last week to share Kyiv’s latest wish list: U.S. Marine Corps training on conducting ship-to-shore operations; new air defenses to take down the Russian glide bombs that are devastating Ukrainian forces; and the long-range, single-warhead version of the Army Tactical Missile System the Biden administration secretly shipped to Ukraine last month.

The representatives who came to the U.S. were aware that they needed to tailor their message to the moment.

In an interview, Roman Tychkivskyy, a former Ukrainian marine who now works for Ukraine’s defense ministry, compared Russians to Hamas, the terrorist group that killed 1,400 Israelis in a surprise attack on Oct. 7. It’s not just Kyiv that is at stake, he argued: If Russia rolls through Ukraine, it will also threaten Europe.

“It’s not just war, it’s genocide,” said Tychkivskyy, calling the cooperation between Russia, North Korea and Iran, which supports Hamas with funding and weapons, a new “axis of evil.”

China’s Other Military Buildup

Abhinav Pandya

In 1998, when then-Indian defense minister George Fernandes said that China was India’s enemy number one, it disturbed many comfort zones. Following his utterance, the majority of India’s Pakistan-centric IR experts and security professionals underwent a collective delirium. However, until 2010, New Delhi could live in the artificial space of peace offered by the slew of border agreements India signed with China after 1990, firmly believing that “good economics can offset bad politics.” Post-2010, when Chinese incursions became a regular phenomenon—at Depsang, at Doklam, and finally, in the most brutal manner, at Galwan, killing twenty Indian soldiers—India’s rendezvous with the peaceful rise of China ended. With those reality checks, India’s strategic establishment emerged from its slumber to understand, analyze, and find solutions to China’s influence and intelligence operations.

Besides China’s “string of pearls” policy to encircle India with friendly states and military-naval bases, the most alarming concern for New Delhi was China’s massive dual-use infrastructural build-up in the border areas. Due to China’s opaque political and military systems, robust internet firewall, and media censorship, finding information about China’s infrastructural initiatives in open sources is highly challenging. With the help of satellite imagery, geopolitical analysts attempt to sketch the constructions in the border areas with India. However, there are severe limitations.

Understanding India’s New Data Protection Law



In early August 2023, the Indian Parliament passed the Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Act, 2023.1 The new law is the first cross-sectoral law on personal data protection in India and has been enacted after more than half a decade of deliberations.2 The key question this paper discusses is whether this seemingly interminable period of deliberations resulted in a “good” law—whether the law protects personal data adequately, and in addition, whether it properly balances, as the preamble to the law states, “the right of individuals to protect their personal data” on one hand and “the need to process such personal data for lawful purposes” on the other.

To answer this question, the paper first details the key features of the law and compares it to earlier versions, especially the previous official bill introduced by the government in Parliament in 2019.3 The second part of the paper then examines the DPDP Act from two perspectives. First, it highlights certain potentially problematic features of this law to understand its consequences for consumers and businesses as well as the Indian state. Second, it places the act in context of the developments and deliberations that have taken place over the last five years or so. The third part speculates on the key factors that will influence the development of data protection regulation in India in the next few years.

The 2023 act is the second version of the bill introduced in Parliament, and fourth overall. An initial version was prepared by a committee of experts and circulated for public feedback in 2018.4 This was followed by the government’s version of the bill that was introduced in Parliament in 2019—the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019. This version was studied by a parliamentary committee that published its report in December 2021.5 The government, however, withdrew this bill, and in November 2022, published a fresh draft for public consultations—the draft Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022.6 This draft was quite different compared to the previous versions. The 2023 law is based, in significant part, on this draft. However, it has some new provisions that are consequential for the questions this paper seeks to answer.

Afghan refugees fear as Pakistan prepares for deportations

Azizullah Khan & Kelly Ng

Thousands of Afghans living in Pakistan have raced to the border to beat a Wednesday deadline for undocumented foreigners to leave the country.

Pakistan says 1.7 million such people must leave by 1 November or face arrest and deportation. Most are Afghans.

Many refugees are terrified, having fled Afghanistan after the Taliban retook control in 2021. Others have been in Pakistan for decades.

The deadline to leave technically expired at midnight on Tuesday.

However Pakistani media report that those who are in transit to leave the country will be allowed to continue their journeys throughout the day.

"Where will we go if we are forced to leave Pakistan?" asked one young woman.

Sadia, who has been studying in Peshawar in north-west Pakistan, said she escaped Afghanistan two years ago for a chance at getting an education, after the Taliban government barred girls and women from school under its harsh version of Islamic law.

"I am studying here in Pakistan and I wish to continue my education here. If we are forced to leave, I will not be able to continue my study in Afghanistan. My parents, my sister and brother are scared about the future," she told BBC Urdu.

Chinese Military Corruption Won’t Slow PLA Expansion

John Grady

Alleged corruption inside Beijing’s rocket forces, which led to the ouster of former Chinese defense minister Li Shangfu, continues to be a problem for Chinese President Xi Jinping, an expert on People’s Liberation Army said Tuesday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies event.

Xi has not been successful at his efforts to clean up the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force, despite the removal of a number of its most senior generals earlier this summer as part of an anti-corruption push, said Roderick Lee, research director at the Air University’s China Aerospace Studies Institute.

The Chinese military is organized along both government and Communist Party lines, which means the “minister of defense is a weak position,” as it falls under the CCP’s control, said Shen Ming Shih, a fellow at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research.

The defense minister’s resignation may signal warmer military-to-military relations between China and other countries, Shen, who spoke from Taiwan, said. In recent weeks, he said “less hawkish” statements are being thrown at Taiwan and the United States by Chinese officials and its media.

Xi Jinping Conceals China’s Vulnerability, Hoping We’ll Fall for I

John Lee

As Anthony Albanese prepares for his visit to Beijing on November 4-7, he should be aware of Xi Jinping’s growing confidence that his Leninist-Marxist view of the “correlation of world forces” goes something like this: From the war in Ukraine to keeping Iran in check in the Middle East, the burden of global responsibility is weighing heavily on a perilously overstretched US. Domestically, its political environment is becoming more divisive – for three chaotic weeks politicians couldn’t even agree on who should be Speaker in the House of Representatives. In contrast, authoritarian China is patiently and relentlessly accumulating national power.

Beijing may be struggling to win hearts in the region because of aggressive actions against Taiwan, Japan, several Southeast Asian nations and India. Hence Joe Biden’s comment that Australia “trust but verify” any Chinese promises to Australia is sound and timely advice for Albanese to consider. But the Chinese leader has long abandoned the “hide your strength, bide your time” approach adopted by his predecessors. Instead, Xi has gone out of his way to boast about Chinese strength and ambition.

Xi frequently speaks about “change that hasn’t happened in 100 years is coming”. He did it again when he met Vladimir Putin in March. He means the inevitable decline of the US, the unstoppable Chinese rise to pre-eminence and the impossibility of preventing and deterring the Chinese Communist Party and People’s Liberation Army from achieving its objectives. Maybe Xi believes his own rhetoric. It is also part of a deliberate narrative constructed and promoted to weaken the arguments and standing of those who believe we should resist Chinese demands.

‘He understood me’: Death of China’s former premier sparks mourning – and a way to air frustration with Xi era

Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang arrive for a tribute ceremony at the Monument to the People's Heroes on the 64th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, in Beijing October 1, 2013.

The sudden death of China’s former Premier Li Keqiang has spurred an outpouring of grief and mourning across the country. But for many, it also appears to offer a rare opening to air pent-up discontent with top leader Xi Jinping and the direction he has taken the country.

Li, who served as Xi’s nominal second-in-command for a decade until March this year, died of a sudden heart attack Friday in Shanghai, according to state media. He was 68.

His death, just months after his retirement, shocked the Chinese public. Tributes have flooded the country’s tightly controlled internet, while a sea of yellow and white bouquets left in makeshift memorials have sprung up outside his childhood residence and other places connected to his past.

On social media posts and handwritten notes tucked in between the floral tributes, many people commemorated Li for his unrealized aspirations rather than his policy achievements.

Widely seen as being sidelined by Xi – China’s most powerful leader in a generation – Li was considered one of the weakest premiers in Communist China’s history. So instead, many mourners have focused on Li’s unfulfilled visions which, in their view, could have led China on a much different path than the one it has trodden over in the past decade.

Maneuver Warfare Is Not Dead, But It Must Evolve

Colonel Pat Garrett, and Lieutenant Colonel Frank Hoffman

Maneuver warfare is a fraud, and maneuver as a warfighting function is dead. At least, that is what some scholars and military analysts claim. We disagree. However, there are ongoing changes in the character of war fueling perceptions that should be addressed. Warfare’s changing character often alters the balance between offense and defense, and the U.S. military faces one of these periodic shifts today.

These changes require professionals to think creatively about the implications. As warfare evolves, remaining ready in the face of technological change is key to the profession of arms. The challenges posed in today’s operating environment complicate maneuver and should stimulate updates to Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication (MCDP) 1: Warfighting.

Current Debate

A U.S. Marine with the Maritime Special Purpose Force, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, provides security in an urban environment training course on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in November 2022. While there are higher costs for urban operations, both movement and offensive maneuver are still possible in steel and masonry canyons. U.S. Marine Corps (Rafael Brambila-Pelay).

How To Fight Billionaires’ Control Of The Media

Dean Baker

Mark Twain famously quipped that everyone always talks about the weather, but no one ever does anything about it. (This was before global warming.) In the same vein, it is common for people to rant about billionaires, like Rupert Murdoch and Elon Musk, controlling major media outlets and using them to advance their political whims. But, no one seems to do anything about it.

There is a reason for inaction. For the foreseeable future, it is hard to envision a political scenario in which the ability of the rich and very rich to own and control major news outlets will be restricted. That means that if the goal is to prevent Elon Musk from owning Twitter (or “X,” as he now calls it), then we will likely be able to do little more than rant. (That is not entirely true.)

However, we can go the other way. We may not be able to stop the rich from owning major media outlets, but we can give a voice to everyone else. This can be done through a system of individual vouchers, where the government gives each person a sum, say $50, to support the news outlet of their choice.

One $50 voucher will not go far but thousands and millions of vouchers can support a lot of people doing journalism. The billionaires and the news outlets they control may still have more money, but there will be outlets they don’t control that will have the resources they need to do serious reporting that has a major impact.

Ukraine’s Counteroffensive Isn’t Going As Well As Many Had Hoped: The Prognosis Isn’t Great Either

Mike Eckel

In the obliterated eastern industrial city of Avdiyivka, Ukrainian troops are trying to avoid being encircled by a multipronged Russian offensive — the largest single coordinated effort since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022.

About 500 kilometers to the southwest, something else is happening: The Ukrainians are crossing the Dnieper River.

For nearly two weeks now, at a location along the marshy wetlands along the east bank of the river, Ukrainian marine infantry and other units have been holding out against assaults from Russian paratroopers and frequent poundings from fighter jets and artillery. A closely watched Russian war blogger this week reported a second Ukrainian bridgehead, further upriver.

It’s far from clear whether the effort will succeed; river crossings are complicated and dangerous for even the best-equipped armies. Ukrainian forces will have to move more troops and heavier armored equipment across the water if there’s to be any hope of opening a major new front against Russian troops, experts said.

At best, the river crossing is a glimmer of good news as Ukraine’s larger counteroffensive, launched at the beginning of June, bogs down against formidable Russian defenses — and soon, wet, winter weather. At worst, it’s a sign of desperation, a last gasp in a push that has fallen short of the goal of cutting though a Russian-held corridor and reaching the Sea of Azov.

Infantry Is More than Rifle Squads

Major Michael Hanson

Last year’s Marine Corps Essay Contest winner, “Beyond Force Design 2030,” by Navy Lieutenant (j.g.) Jeong Soo Kim, added to the ongoing debate about restructuring the table of organization and equipment of Marine infantry forces.1 It has been a heated topic since then–Commandant of the Marine Corps General David H. Berger announced sweeping changes to the structure of the Marine Corps in Force Design 2030.

However, this has been a topic of discussion for years, long before General Berger acknowledged it was time to act and called for experimentation to guide an updated force structure. In this regard, many Marines would concur with Lieutenant Kim and General Berger that, as warfare continues to evolve, the force needs to evolve with it. While some observations in last year’s winning article are astute, others miss the mark.

Drone Capabilities

Marines with 3d Battalion, 3d Marines, 3d Marine Division, fire an M2 .50-caliber machine gun during Resolute Dragon 22. Most Marines believe that the infantry exists to support maneuver, and it must have the firepower to do so. U.S. Marine Corps (Diana Jimenez)

US military still fleshing out SOF, cyber, space ‘triad’ at the joint level


The so-called modern triad — an idea pioneered by the Army that includes a combination of special operations, cyber and space forces — is still mostly conceptual at the joint level, according to a senior Department of Defense official.

The traditional term “triad,” in U.S. military parlance, refers to the air-, land- and sea-based legs of the Pentagon’s nuclear arsenal. The Army began conceptualizing a new triad over a year ago as a partnership between the unique — and global — capabilities of space, cyber and SOF.

“I think we’re beginning to explain it better. I think it’s still largely a concept at this point. And while I give huge credit to [Lt. Gen.] Jon Braga and [Army Special Operations Command] for really leading within the Army, I think Special Operations Command at that kind of joint SOF level, is increasingly demonstrating leadership in this space,” Chris Maier, assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, said at the NDIA SO/LIC Symposium Tuesday.

“I think we are going to need to fill out more of what we mean by this and … really show what this means and show how [it] closes kill chains or solves problems for the joint force beyond just something that is unique,” he said.

The Biden Administration’s Executive Order on Artificial Intelligence

James Andrew Lewis, Emily Benson and Michael Frank

The discussion of rules for the use of artificial intelligence is a crowded space. The United Kingdom is hosting an AI Safety Summit later this week, the European Union moving forward with its AI Act to regulate AI, the United Nations is creating a Digital Compact, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and G7 have issued guidelines, and there are countless public and private sector conferences on managing the risks of AI. Stanford University found that 37 AI-related laws in 127 different countries passed in 2022 alone. Most of these guidelines say more or less the same thing; that all must balance the potential risk of AI systems against the risk of losing the economic and social benefits the new technology can bring.

The United States is the latest entrant into the crowded field, with the Biden administration releasing its Executive Order (EO) on Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence. The United States leads in developing AI technologies (also a crowded space), so these rules are consequential, if not always groundbreaking. The EO is levelheaded—it avoids the use of phrases like “existential risk” and focuses on concrete problems—security and safety, privacy, discrimination. Its approach to managing risk is increased transparency and the use of testing, tools, and standards. In recent months, many federal agencies have pressed ahead with AI-related rules. This EO establishes a requirement to engage in AI rulemaking that had lagged since President Trump’s initial February 2019 order. Perhaps its defining feature is its use of the executive-led approach to regulation, in contrast with the legislative approaches in the European Union.

How Many Wars Can America Fight at the Same Time?

Emma Ashford
Source Link

Matt Kroenig: Hi, Emma. I hope you are great. We sometimes debate what to debate, but this week I think the topic is clear: the Middle East.

Emma Ashford: Are you sure? As U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan wrote in an essay made available this week, “The region is quieter than it has been for decades.” That’s a moment of dark humour in an unpleasant time. I guess he finished his draft before Oct. 7? It’s certainly emblematic of how this administration has handled the region over the last few years.

MK: Things like this make me glad that our column is online and published almost immediately. (What is the value of a printed magazine these days?) You are often wrong, of course, but at least you are never overtaken by events.

EA: Whereas you are never wrong, I’m sure.

But the administration has certainly been more active in the last few weeks. U.S. President Joe Biden’s trip to the region was well received in Israel but a poorly timed catastrophe in Gaza—where an off-course missile hit a hospital—meaning that his trip to Israel’s Arab neighbors got canceled. It made the whole thing look really one-sided.

He also gave a speech upon his return to the U.S.—a rare Oval Office address to the nation, in which he tried to build a fairly tortuous connection between Israel and Ukraine, afterward asking Congress for $106 billion in extra defense spending.

For 250 years, US troops could tow their cannons around the battlefield. The war in Ukraine shows they won't have that luxury in the future.

Michael Peck

As the Ukraine war has proven, the effectiveness of artillery rests on more than its range or the destructive power of its shells.

The mobility of a howitzer — its capacity to "shoot and scoot" — can make the difference between living to fight another day and being destroyed by the enemy. That's why the US Army is pondering whether hauling guns by truck is still a viable option.

For towed artillery, "10- or 15-minute displacement time is not going to work against a good enemy," Gen. James Rainey, the head of US Army Futures Command, told reporters at the Association of the United States Army's annual conference, held this month in Washington, DC.

US soldiers prepare a M777 howitzer for fire missions at a training area in Germany in January 2020.

The Ukraine war has featured an array of towed and self-propelled artillery in a variety of calibers that have been manufactured by numerous nations. These include the US M109, Russian 2S19, and German PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers and the US M777, Russian 2A65, and British L119 towed guns.


Karolina Hird, Christina Harward, Angelica Evans, Riley Bailey, and Frederick W. Kagan

Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov's response to the October 29 antisemitic riots in the Republic of Dagestan suggests that Russian officials may be increasingly concerned about the weakening of authoritarian control in regions on the periphery of the Russian Federation. Kadyrov responded to the riots in Dagestan by praising Russian President Vladimir Putin's accusation that the West orchestrated the situation to destabilize Russia.[1] Kadyrov later called on Chechen security forces to immediately detain instigators of any potential riots in Chechnya or to "fire three warning shots in the air and after that, fire the fourth shot in the head."[2] Kadyrov's reactions to the riots in Dagestan suggest that he is first and foremost concerned with maintaining the perception of his unwavering support of Putin and secondly with demonstrating the strength of his authoritarian rule over Chechnya by threatening a violent response to potential future riots.[3]

Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations near Bakhmut and in western Zaporizhia Oblast on October 31. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations in the Melitopol (western Zaporizhia Oblast) and Bakhmut directions.[4] Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief General Valerii Zaluzhnyi to discuss the situation on the front in the Kupyansk, Avdiivka, and Kherson directions.[5]

Russian forces launched a series of missile and drone strikes against Ukraine on October 31. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces launched four Iskander-M missiles and an S-300 air defense missile at targets in Ukraine.[6] Zaporizhia Oblast Military Administration Head Yurii Malashko reported that Russian forces struck Zaporizhzhia City with a missile.[7] Ukrainian officials reported that Russian forces launched an unspecified number of Shahed-131/136 drones at targets in Khmelnytskyi and Poltava oblasts and that Ukrainian air defenses activated in these oblasts.[8]

Russia and North Korea: A Military Partnership That Can Truly Last or Not?

Timo Kivimäki

Concrete evidence suggests a close relationship between Russia and North Korea. In July, Russia’s defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, visited North Korea for negotiations, followed by the third summit meeting between President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in September and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit in October. While this cooperation appears to have immediate power-politics motives, it is based on an unsustainable ideological foundation. The two countries need support from the other for the defense of principles that the other consistently violates. This misalignment may render Russia’s cooperation with North Korea unsustainable in the long run.

The cooperation between North Korea and Russia is primarily driven by considerations of power rather than a commitment to shared principles. North Korea seeks allies to establish a sense of normalcy following the Supreme People’s Assembly enacting a law on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s Policy on Nuclear Forces in September 2022, making nuclear weapons a permanent element of the country’s defense policy. However, while North Korea has underscored the international norm of non-interference in domestic affairs and criticized U.S. interventions and interference, the country’s foreign ministry has swiftly endorsed Russia’s violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and the alteration of Ukraine’s state borders through the use of force. In the short term, principles hold little weight when geopolitical tensions between North Korea and the West compel the country to support Russia, yet Russia’s actions contradict the same principles that North Korea has consistently condemned the United States for violating.