21 November 2023

Bowen: Ceasefire demands will grow without proof of Hamas HQ at al-

Jeremy Bowen

It is now days since Israeli forces entered al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, and what appears to be happening on Friday is that they are continuing their search for evidence of this being a key Hamas command centre.

We have to remember that there is no independent scrutiny inside the hospital; journalists cannot move freely into Gaza, and any who are reporting from the site are working under the aegis of the Israeli military.

The evidence Israel has produced, so far, I do not believe to be convincing in terms of the kind of rhetoric Israelis were using about the set-up at the hospital, which suggested this was a nerve centre for the Hamas operation.

If there was a nerve centre there - and there has been speculation about that possibility since 2014 - then the Israelis have not yet revealed definitive evidence of its existence to the outside world.

What has been recovered includes some Kalashnikov rifles - these are common in the Middle East - a tunnel entrance, of which there are many in Gaza, some military uniforms and a booby-trapped vehicle.

The discovery of and evidence for a major Hamas headquarters underneath the hospital is of course still possible.

The hospital was, after all, built by the Israelis in the 1970s during its full control of the territory, and it is a large site which will take time to thoroughly search.

Inside Israel’s three ‘day after’ options for Gaza amid government split

Ben Caspit

TEL AVIV — Israel is far from knowing what to do about Gaza after it, in theory, brings down Hamas and rids the enclave of its leaders. As Yoav Mordechai, a retired Israeli major general, asks in his colorful Arabic, “Ba'adein?” — What then? A former coordinator of government activities in the territories, Mordechai is also one of the many people involved in the complicated hostage release negotiations with Hamas.

Israeli national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi has said in recent weeks that after ridding Gaza of Hamas, control of the territory should be handed to the Palestinian Authority (PA). This is not Israel’s official position, however. In fact, a clear majority among the ruling Likud party opposes the PA's return to the territory, from which Hamas ousted it in 2007. The extreme right-wing Religious Zionism and Jewish Power parties in the governing coalition have completely discounted the idea.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu maintains ambiguity on the matter, rejecting various ideas, such as Israel occupying Gaza, but without offering alternatives. The only scenario to which he has committed is maintaining Israeli military control throughout the territory, as Israel has done for decades in the West Bank. His reluctance to commit is clearly linked to his own personal and political postwar future, which is almost as cloudy as Gaza’s.

"Israel has three options," a senior former security source told Al-Monitor, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "One of them is excellent, the second is bad, the third is not bad but unrealistic.”

International law is a collective delusion

Samuel Moyn

As Israel wages its war against Hamas in Gaza, world leaders have called for international law to be observed. But this emphasis on the rules around the conduct of war falls short of what people imagine. The law is so permissive that Israel's actions might well be within its limits, and even if they aren't, there is no mechanism for the law to be enforced. In this interview, Samuel Moyn argues that a focus on humane warfare can be counterproductive, and that international law is impotent in the absence of a Hobbesian superstate.

Not since the Nuremberg trials after World War II has there been so much intense interest in international law, Samuel Moyn tells me as we start our Zoom call. It has become the framework through which people try to make sense of the two recent wars: Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and more recently the renewed, bloody conflict in the Middle East. The concept of a war crime has become a powerful tool with which we judge the actions of states, the type and levels of aggression they wage on others. But one key paradox remains at the heart of this framework. Many of us talk about international law as though it is something whose violation is met with consequences: an indictment, a trial, and ultimately the punishment of those found guilty. Only none of that accurately describes what happens when a state breaks the international laws governing war. So, if international law is not really enforceable, what is it good for?

Defining victory will determine the Gaza war’s future


In January 2009, toward the end of Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip, the commander of the IDF’s Southern Command, Yoav Gallant, met with a group of reporters at his base in Beersheba.

The IDF was in the middle of the largest-scale operation on the ground inside Gaza since the Israeli unilateral withdrawal three-and-a-half years earlier. Gun battles were taking place daily inside Gaza, and while the military was meeting some of its objectives, the cabinet was meeting almost daily to decide what to do – suffice with the success it had already had or approve stage two of the operation and push deeper into Gaza City.

The direction was clear. Ehud Olmert, the prime minister at the time, was nearing the end of his term, and Israel was less than a month away from the elections that would bring Benjamin Netanyahu back to power. What was happening in the US was possibly even more important. George W. Bush was days away from leaving the Oval Office to be replaced by Barack Obama. The Americans made clear that they wanted the operation wrapped up before Inauguration Day on January 20.

Despite knowing all of this, Gallant wanted to continue. “If I have more time,” he told the reporters, “we can take down Hamas.” He also said, “If I have approval, I can get to [Hamas commander] Mohammed Deif and bring him out to the main square in Gaza City.”

The closer Israel gets to destroying Hamas, the more likely war with Hezbollah becomes

Bilal Y. Saab

He leads an army of more than 100,000 dedicated and battle-hardened fighters equipped with thousands of missiles, rockets, and armed drones that can hit targets deep inside Israel with pinpoint accuracy. He inspires and commands the loyalty of Iran-backed militias across the Arab world.

So when Hassan Nasrallah, the head of the Lebanese Hezbollah and the most powerful non-state actor in the world, says that he doesn’t wish to broaden the war in Gaza to help his Palestinian ally Hamas, the region should breathe a sigh of relief – because his words matter.

But Nasrallah’s intentions alone are hardly sufficient to prevent regional escalation. Israel’s willingness to avoid another catastrophic war with Hezbollah, like the one in 2006, is critical, too. Yet it is not known what the Israeli war cabinet is thinking or what it wants to do.

There are those in the Israeli government, including Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who want to more aggressively punish Hezbollah for its shelling of Israeli military positions along the border.

More ambitiously, they also see an opportunity to neutralize the threat to Israel’s northern front once and for all. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not reached that conclusion yet, but if Gallant and others threaten to resign over this issue, he might change his mind to ensure his political survival.

The concern in Washington about Israel’s intentions is so palpable that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had to phone Gallant and urge him to calm things down along the Israel–Lebanon border.

Social Media in India - 2023 Stats & Platform Trends

How is social media in India?

As the most populous country with the second-largest number of internet users globally, India’s internet market is both highly attractive and competitive. Although only 43% of Indians have internet access, a robust social media user base reportedly spends approximately 2.6 hours daily on social media platforms.

In recent years, India’s social media landscape has experienced significant shifts, including the government’s ban on major Chinese apps due to a border dispute with China. Consequently, TikTok is no longer accessible in India, and individuals with ties to China have sought alternatives to WeChat.

A notable development occurred in 2022 when the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEIT) in India established a three-member grievance redressal committee, despite opposition from tech companies. Following the committee’s formation, social media firms must comply with the government’s content moderation decisions, a move widely seen as part of the government’s attempts to exert control over social media companies.

Interestingly, according to a study published by the Oxford University, there is around 54% of Indian go to social media channels to find “truthful” information. The same figure for the global average is just 37% and the US is at 29%.

Another emerging trend is the growth of social commerce in India. A study by Bain & Company predicts that social commerce in India will witness a compound annual growth rate of 55-60% between FY 2020-2025, expanding the current market size from $1.5-2 billion to $16-20 billion.

Over the next decade, India is anticipated to become the largest market for social media advertising spending outside of China and is poised to be the fastest-growing market worldwide.



This page contains all the latest data, insights, and trends you need to help you understand how people in India use digital devices and services in 2023.

If you want to check whether this is our most up-to-date report on India, or if you’re looking for data on digital trends and behaviours in India for previous years, you can find our full collection of reports on India by clicking here.

You’ll also find the complete Digital 2023 report on India in the “full report” section below, but let’s start by taking a look at the key numbers for India this year.

The state of digital in India in 2023

Here are the essential headlines for digital adoption and use in India in early 2023:
  • There were 692.0 million internet users in India at the start of 2023, when internet penetration stood at 48.7 percent.
  • India was home to 467.0 million social media users in January 2023, equating to 32.8 percent of the total population.
  • A total of 1.10 billion cellular mobile connections were active in India in early 2023, with this figure equivalent to 77.0 percent of the total population.
These headline stats offer a great overview of the “state of digital” in India, but in order to make sense of how digital trends and behaviours are evolving, we need to dig deeper into the data.

Let’s take a closer look at what the latest numbers tell us, starting with some valuable context relating to India’s population.

India’s population in 2023

India’s total population was 1.42 billion in January 2023.

How an Indian startup hacked the world


Chuck Randall was on the verge of unveiling an ambitious real estate deal he hoped would give his small Native American tribe a bigger cut of a potentially lucrative casino project.

A well-timed leak derailed it all.

In July of 2012, printed excerpts from Randall’s private emails were hand-distributed across the Shinnecock Nation’s square-mile reservation, a wooded peninsula hanging off the South Fork of Long Island.

The five-page pamphlets detailed secret negotiations between Randall, his tribal government allies and outside investors to wrest some of the profits from the tribe’s then-partner in the gambling deal.

They sparked an uproar. The pamphlets claimed Randall’s plan would sell out the tribe’s “LANDS, RESOURCES, and FUTURE REVENUES.” Within days, four of Randall’s allies were voted out of tribal government. Randall, who held no formal position with the tribe, was ordered to cease acting on its behalf.

Tribal citizen Charles “Chuck” B. Randall, IV on Shinnecock territory in Long Island, New York. The hack and leak of his emails sowed division within his small Long Island-based tribe. 

Amid the upheaval, the Shinnecocks’ casino hopes faded. “We lost the biggest economic opportunity that has come to the tribe in forever,” Randall told Reuters. “My emails were weaponized.”

China & Pakistan Launch First Ever Joint Naval Patrol West into Arabian Sea


The Chinese and Pakistani Navies have together embarked upon a joint Naval journey into the Arabian Sea, a move signaling the People’s Liberation Army - Navy’s continued expansionist ambitions to extend its influence and project power on a global scale beyond the Pacific theater.

A PLA Navy destroyer was joined by two PLA frigates, a replenishment ship and submarine support ship on the joint patrol alongside two Pakistani frigates and an anti-submarine patrol aircraft, according to a news report published by the Chinese-government backed Global Times newspaper.

Chinese Global Expansion

The Pentagon’s annual China report and numerous Congressional research studies have in recent years consistently documented China’s well-known ambition to become the preeminent global power by its centennial in 2049. However, the pace of Chinese military modernization continues to stagger and shock the global community, and many observers are of the view that the PRC may seek to accelerate this timeframe. China now operates the largest Navy in the world and has in recent years been vastly expanding its global presence, to include military outposts in Djibouti, Africa, economic influence into the African continent as well as new initiatives in Peru, South America and the Middle East.

This first-of-its-kind joint patrol with Pakistan into the Arabian Sea signifies a new ambitious step forward for the PLA’s fast-growing global influence. There are several key factors associated with this kind of patrol, not the least of which is a Chinese Naval ability to essentially “surround” the Indian peninsula. Clearly the PLA Navy already operates in the Bay of Bengal East of India as it seeks to solidify and increase its presence throughout SouthEast Asia, particularly along its Belt Road Initiative and Digital Silk Road efforts designed to extend an economic and logistical corridor between mainland China, SouthEast Asia and further West into Pakistan and parts of the Middle East.

China’s 2nd Naval Base After Djibouti ‘Expands’; To Ensure Swift Deployment Of PLA-Navy Warships In SCS, Taiwan Strait?

Ritu Sharma

A recent media report indicates that a large dockyard that could accommodate a large aircraft carrier is being constructed. The experts suggest that the dockyard size means the Chinese Navy will also have a semi-permanent presence in the country. Cambodia’s small Navy has no vessels in its flotilla requiring such an extensive facility.

The Chinese and Cambodian governments have previously denied reports that Cambodia will allow a Chinese military presence at the Ream naval base on the Gulf of Thailand. The base would significantly increase China’s access to the Indo-Pacific as, presently, the country has only one naval base in the east African country of Djibouti.

Satellite imagery shows that a significant new dry dock is under construction at the base, close to Cambodia’s coastal city of Sihanoukville, at a site where the People’s Liberation Army is suspected to be developing infrastructure for its warships and submarines, according to H. I. Sutton, an open-source maritime security analyst.

China is adding a third aircraft carrier, Fujian, to its armada. And they align with China’s ambition to become the leading strategic power in Asia-Pacific. But beating the US will be challenging without a global chain of overseas bases.

Ream naval base in Cambodia. 

According to a 2021 Pentagon report, China is “seeking to establish a more robust overseas logistics and basing infrastructure … to support naval, air, ground, cyber, and space power projection.” Other than Cambodia, it has “likely considered several countries,” including Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Tanzania.

Submarine Diplomacy

Matthew P. Funaiole, Brian Hart, Aidan Powers-Riggs, and Jennifer Jun

China is quietly deepening its influence along the Bay of Bengal, a region intimately linked to Beijing’s expanding overseas interests. Commercial satellite imagery reveals that China has made significant progress on a naval base it is constructing for Bangladesh’s military. The base houses a pair of submarines that Dhaka received from Beijing two years before ground broke at the facility. China has likewise transferred a submarine to neighboring Myanmar to aid the embattled military regime.

Beijing’s efforts to strengthen ties with Bangladesh and Myanmar are taking place amid growing geopolitical competition with India. As smaller powers in the region seek to shore up their military capabilities, India and China are striving to become the security provider of choice.

Over the past decade, China has increasingly filled that role. Since 2010, more than two-thirds of Bangladesh’s arms imports, and nearly half of Myanmar’s, have come from China.   

Military-to-military exchanges also support China’s strategic objectives. Closer defense ties may help the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) secure access to logistics facilities needed to sustain future naval operations in the region. The U.S. Department of Defense includes both Bangladesh and Myanmar on its short list of locations where Beijing has likely considered establishing overseas military facilities.

Myanmar junta attacks by air, river during Arakan Army clash

Clashes this week in western Myanmar between the Arakan Army and junta troops have driven more than 26,000 people from their homes, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, said on Friday.

After the ethnic armed forces seized a police station in Rakhine state Thursday morning, junta forces retaliated with airstrikes.

The military regime also brought in navy ships, one Pauktaw township resident told Radio Free Asia. Gunfire continued until Thursday afternoon, when locals began to leave en masse.

“I am not sure whether all the residents could get out of the city,” he said, asking to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals. “I think parts of the city are blocked as [junta troops] are shooting from both air and sea.”

The escalated hostilities in Rakhine and neighboring southern Chin state have restricted key transport routes and waterways between Rakhine’s state capital of Sittwe and Yangon, Myanmar’s commercial capital, according to Friday’s update from OCHA.

Fighting has been especially intense in Rakhine’s Pauktaw and Maungdaw townships and in Chin’s Paletwa township, according to OCHA.

Since Monday, 11 deaths and more than 30 injuries have been reported, and more than 100 people have reportedly been detained by junta forces, OCHA said.

Zero-Days in Edge Devices Become China's Cyber Warfare Tactic of Choice

Jeffrey Schwartz

The government of China has become considerably more proficient in exploiting zero-day vulnerabilities to achieve their espionage goals in the past five years, posing an alarming persistent threat to organizations throughout the world. Now, the country's nation-state actors are increasingly exploiting novel vulnerabilities in public-facing devices, notably edge appliances.

In fact, an estimated 85% of known zero-day vulnerabilities exploited by Chinese state-sponsored groups since 2021 have targeted public-facing appliances, including firewalls, enterprise VPNs, hypervisors, load balancers, and email security tools, according a recent report published by Insikt Group, the threat intelligence research arm of Recorded Future.

Their success is underpinned by threat sharing and support apparatus, according to Insikt. "The observed sharing of malware and exploit capabilities across Chinese state-sponsored actors is likely enabled by both upstream capability developers and wider domestic policy around software vulnerability discovery and weaponization," the report stated.

The approach has helped China transform into a much stealthier adversary, according to the findings, and therefore trickier to defend against.

Specifically, many of these devices and appliances have limited visibility, logging capabilities, and support for traditional security solutions. "Organizations should consider these factors when initially procuring network appliances in order to enhance the ability to detect and respond to threats," according to the report.

"For CISOs, this highlights the importance of looking beyond threat actors gaining initial access and ensuring they have the means to detect and respond to such an eventuality," says Mark Kelly, principal threat intelligence analyst at Recorded Future. "Given that a lot of these public-facing appliances often have very limited support for traditional security solutions, they should also consider these factors when initially procuring these types of devices."

How the ‘Fab 4’ Can Bring Clarity to Semiconductor Supply Chains

Jaemin Lee

Semiconductors have taken center stage in global economic security debates. Microchips have become an integral part of the China-U.S. confrontation. The fast advent of the digital society and the faster permeation of artificial intelligence have made chips all the more important and crucial for many key areas of national concern.

No wonder the United States has introduced and experimented with a wide range of novel legal schemes to regulate semiconductors on multiple fronts. Consider, for instance, the CHIPS and Science Act enacted in August 2022 and export control regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce also in August 2022. Add here Washington’s diplomatic efforts to motivate chips allies to stay in line, and tough business dialogue to fence key chipmakers in. Some incidents have occurred, such as SK Hynix chips found in Huawei’s Mate 60 Pro smartphone, but the U.S. regulatory scheme has largely worked pretty well for the past year or so.

It is time to move forward. Now that the ground has been broken and platform placed, it is time to build a new structure upon it – i.e., a workable and sustainable global supply chain of semiconductors. Patchy, ad hoc stopgap measures should give way to something standing, comprehensive, and predictable. Global chipmakers are not necessarily complaining about regulation in and of itself; they are being agitated by uncertainties arising from the regulation. The continuing innovation and success of the semiconductor industry hinges on how to manage and contain the uncertainties as much as possible.

How Joe Biden Can Deter China

Whatever else came out of this week’s meeting between Presidents Biden and Xi Jinping, there was no sign that China intends to cease its military aggression in the western Pacific. That raises the stakes for Mr. Biden to offer at long last a plan to deter an attack on Taiwan.

Mr. Biden has asked Congress for more than $105 billion in emergency funding for Ukraine and Israel, but Pacific deterrence is an afterthought. He is seeking a mere $2 billion in military sales for partners across the region. There’s also some money for American submarines and U.S. financing alternatives for developing countries pondering a loan from China.

Mr. Biden low-balled Taiwan and friends to try to conciliate Mr. Xi ahead of handshakes in San Francisco. But Beijing is responding to U.S. restraint by harassing American aircraft and unleashing water cannons on allied vessels from the Philippines. Mr. Biden’s diplomacy would be stronger if backed up by hard power. Here’s what a Pacific deterrent package might look like:

• More authority for Taiwan to buy weapons and draw down U.S. stocks. The U.S. has propped up Ukraine’s fight against Russia by pouring weapons over friendly borders for nearly two years. America will have no such strategic luxury in Taiwan. The window to arm the island is before sparks go up in the Strait. The $2 billion for regional friends isn’t sufficient for a fight that could happen at any time, and a serious request would add at least $2 billion more—directly for Taiwan.

These sales can be complemented by money for direct drawdowns from U.S. inventory. Eric Sayers and Dustin Walker of the American Enterprise Institute note that $650 million of such drawdown authority for Taiwan expired in fiscal 2023. Congress can approve more and include funding to replenish U.S. military stocks with newer weapons.

Three big reasons Americans haven't rapidly adopted EVs

Kate Morgan

Throughout the past few years, analysts have touted electric vehicles as the future of transport – one Americans would dive into, eagerly and rapidly. The EV market is indeed expanding, but the US's electric vehicle 'revolution' appears to be happening much slower than some analysts and car manufacturers expected.

Since 2016, sales of EVs in the US have grown – from nearly 65,000 vehicles sold in 2017, to more than 800,000 vehicles in 2022. Data from auto analytics firm Motor Intelligence showed EV sales rose 51% in the first half of 2023, following the upwards trend. However, those gains are still a drop from last year's 71% growth in the same timeframe. And Tesla, which leads the market with more than half of all EV sales, recently reported its lowest quarterly earnings in two years, leading to a $138bn (£111.4bn) drop in the company's stock value.

Some American car manufacturers are taking new business decisions based on these signals.

General Motors – which two years ago announced a goal of phasing out internal combustion engines by 2035 – is pulling away from a production goal of 400,000 EVs by mid-2024. They've also cancelled plans to pair with Honda to build a line of more affordable EVs. At Ford, executives are delaying billions of dollars in EV investment, saying they don't yet need the production capacity to meet demand.

It's not that Americans don't wantto buy EVs, says Elizabeth Krear, vice president of Electric Vehicle Practice at consumer-intelligence firm J.D. Power.

Ukraine Tracks a Record Number of Cyber Incidents During War

Mathew J. Schwartz

The tempo of cyberattacks against Ukrainian critical infrastructure has intensified this year - the second year in which Kyiv is fending off a Russian war of conquest.

In the first 10 month of this year, Ukraine's national computer emergency response team, CERT-UA, logged 2,054 cyber incidents, compared to 2,194 for the entirety of 2022, said Viktor Zhora, deputy chairman of Ukraine's State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection. Three-quarters of the incidents involved civilian infrastructure, Zhora told a cybersecurity conference in Dublin on Thursday.

Hackers' top goals are to steal information on the disposition of forces, infiltrate organizations that provide critical infrastructure services and steal people's personal information from organizations across a number of sectors, including insurance and healthcare, said Zhora, who addressed the IRISSCON conference, held by IRISSCERT - short for the Irish Reporting and Information Security Service - via video link.

Since Russia launched an all-out invasion on Feb. 24, 2022, the most dangerous hacking incidents have typically traced to Russia's GRU military intelligence group, he said. The greatest number of attacks this year appear to have been launched by the Federal Security Service, or FSB. Other threats include the SVR foreign intelligence service, embassies and partner agencies, and some groups in Russia's Ministry of Defense. Government hackers are "joined by cybercriminal groups, and also so-called hacktivist groups - united via Telegram channels - which are less skilled but more numerous," he said.

Inside Ukraine’s Revolutionary Warfare

Bennett Murray

In an empty field just south of the Russian-occupied city of Bakhmut, a half-dozen Ukrainian soldiers waited patiently amid an enemy artillery barrage. They rested in an abandoned Russian trench that had seen little use since its original occupants had been pushed out over the summer. After months of neglect, the entrenchment was overgrown with shrubbery that by happenstance also served as concealment from enemy drones.

The shells, evidently aimed at artillery in the tree line on the field’s western edge, exploded behind the soldiers in bursts staggered a few minutes apart.

Zhenya, a 32-year-old lieutenant from Mariupol serving in the 28th Mechanized Brigade, was unfazed. (As is standard practice for Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers speaking with the media, he did not provide his last name to The Dispatch.)

“They have two drones flying above us searching, maybe for us, maybe for somebody else, but we’re too beautiful to die today,” the young lieutenant said cheerfully as the shells whizzed above him. Another soldier stood at one of the trench’s entrances, casually watching the shells land as he absentmindedly played a game on his smartphone.
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How Russian Troops Are Threatening EU Expansion

Luke Coffey

The European Commission, the executive branch of the EU, has recommended that accession talks for EU membership should start for Ukraine and Moldova, and that Georgia should receive its long awaited EU candidate status. The European Council is expected to vote to approve this next month, the beginning of what will be a long but important process.

All three states bring an added complication to EU enlargement: the presence of Russian troops on their territory.

Russia’s illegal military presence in Ukraine began in 2014. In November 2013, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, under pressure from the Kremlin, failed to sign an association agreement and free trade deal with the EU despite promising to do so. Instead, he agreed to join the Russia- led Eurasian Economic Union. The Ukrainian people felt betrayed and took to the streets. Months of street demonstrations led to his removal in early 2014.

Russia responded by sending in unmarked troops to occupy Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula under the pretext of “protecting the Russian people.” This was followed by military meddling in eastern Ukraine. After eight years of low intensity conflict, Russia carried out the large-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Last summer, the EU offered candidacy status to Ukraine. This month, accession talks started — exactly a decade after Yanukovych reneged on his promise.

Russia’s military presence in Moldova is a legacy of the Soviet Union. When the USSR was disintegrating, Moldova, at the time part of the Soviet Union, declared independence. At the same time, the region of Transnistria, which is considered by the international community to be a part of Moldova, tried declaring independence. A war broke out between Moldova and the separatists in the early 1990s, with Russia backing the latter. In 1999, Russia agreed to remove all its troops and weaponry from Moldova by the end of 2002 but never followed through. Today, 2,000 Russian troops are still based in the breakaway region.

Ukraine Attributes Destruction Of Russian Ships To Innovative Use Of Drones

“Not all of this is the result of the work of our drones,” Ukrainian Navy spokesman Dmytro Pletenchuk said, but they have caused “quite a lot of damage to enemy ships.” (file photo)

The Russian fleet has suffered “serious damage” largely caused by Ukrainian drones, according to Ukrainian Navy spokesman Dmytro Pletenchuk, who said the tactics have made Ukraine the driver of a new type of naval warfare.

Pletenchuk, speaking on Ukrainian television on November 17, claimed that 15 Russian ships have been destroyed and 12 damaged since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

“Not all of this is the result of the work of our drones,” he said, but they have caused “quite a lot of damage to enemy ships.”

Pletenchuk said this has made Ukraine a leader in “a new level of application of unmanned systems,” and is recognized as such.

“We have a separate team…that [uses] both surface and underwater drones. And not only for reconnaissance and demining, but also for destruction,” Pletenchuk said.

Russian forces in the Black Sea have recently “reduced significantly” thanks to the work of the Ukrainian defense forces, he claimed. He added that the Russian military has been forced to “remain as far away as possible and is significantly limited in its actions,” though the Ukrainian military previously has said that bad weather in autumn and winter typically forces Russian missile carriers to move into their base ports.

Amid Many Crises, Don’t Neglect the War for Technology

Sarah Sewall and Steve Bowsher

The current confluence of wars and geopolitical tension is acute, but it cannot distract the United States from the ongoing war in technology innovation. Jostling to lead transformative, over-the-horizon technologies is the geopolitical battle of the century. U.S. policymakers and private sector leaders face an uphill climb if they want the United States to win.

This competition may well determine whether democracies or authoritarian governments lead the global system.

The United States should never mimic the Chinese Communist Party’s centralized market, which often directs and funds nominally private entities. An effective U.S. government role in promoting innovation can only be limited in scope while strategic in purpose — and targeted toward the most transformative technologies.

Yet, our policymakers have, so far, failed to offer a national vision for how to sustain U.S. technology leadership.

Government once led the United States into global technology dominance. U.S. defense investments in a nascent microelectronics field enabled U.S. companies to lead the information technology revolution of the last century. Government’s catalytic role receded, though, replaced by faith in the private sector to lead future innovation. However, investors and companies frequently pursue the technologies that promise more immediate financial rewards, stranding higher-risk but potentially transformative technologies that lack a ready market.

China’s continued innovation progress has generated bipartisan alarm, and Congress has begun jump-starting federal support for key technologies. However, recent legislation addresses a host of competing goals, from securing supply chains, to greening the economy, to diversifying the technology workforce. The bills tackle just a few technologies, and they prioritize domestic manufacturing of existing products over future innovation. Consider the billions of dollars in new tax credits to build semiconductor facilities at home. It can take close to a decade just to build a fabrication plant, and many of these facilities will produce the chips of yesterday — not the future.

Ukraine challenges conventional wisdom of war on the high seas


In an extraordinary, but little noticed development in the war in the Ukraine, Vice Admiral Oleksly Neizhpapa, head of Ukraine’s Navy, indicated on November 12 that his country had broken the Russian naval blockade of the port of Odessa despite having few capital ships of its own.

Through a combination of drones, long-range missiles, and special forces, Ukraine’s Navy has driven Russian naval vessels away from Odessa – potentially reopening the port to international trade. This does not mean that Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s coastline is completely broken, since Russia can continue to attack merchant ships with long-range missiles or drones, but it certainly raises interesting questions about the future of the naval war in the Black Sea.

Among the instruments creatively applied by the Ukrainians are missile strikes against Russian naval ships, most notably with the dramatic sinking of the Moskva in April 2022. In September 2023, Ukraine struck Russia’s naval headquarters in Sevastopol in two separate attacks with British-supplied cruise missiles, further complicating Russia’s Black Sea naval operations. Last but not least, Ukraine has used special forces with jet skis to mount additional attacks on Russian submarines and naval facilities in Eastern Crimea. According to an October 13 Washington Post report, Ukraine’s attacks have caused Russia to move part of its fleet to Novorossiyisk on the eastern side of the Black Sea out of range of Ukraine’s weapons.

While Ukraine’s attacks are significant in and of themselves since they could pave the wave for a resumption of sea-borne trade, perhaps more important is the fundamental challenge these developments pose to cherished notions of sea power and, more generally, the overall purpose of navies that continue to absorb billions of dollars each year in established navies around the world. A paradigm shift in the application of sea power in war may be upon us.

Perspective – Send in the Robots: Counter-Terrorism Response and Emerging Drone Technology

Zachary Kallenborn, Derrick Tin, and Gregory Ciottone

Terrorists, suicide bombers in particular, create chaos and bring death and destruction to the masses. Not only are innocent people hurt or killed, buildings and critical infrastructure will likely be damaged or destroyed. Police, firefighters, medics, and other first responders may struggle to respond when bridges and roads are compromised and saving lives means entering collapsing, contaminated buildings and potentially placing their own lives at risk. Drones are increasingly being used to help.[1] Drones are already helping map, photograph, and assess damaged infrastructure after terror attacks and other disasters.[2] If a building collapses and a first responder dies, that might be someone’s son, daughter, mom, dad, sister, brother, or just friend. But if a drone is destroyed, only the accountants cry.

The opportunities to use drones for terrorism preparedness and response are growing. Researchers are excitedly improving sensor processing, expanding use to new domains, enhancing autonomy, and connecting numerous drones into collaborative drone swarms. Counter-terrorism, emergency response, and homeland defense organizations writ large need to monitor these trends, identify opportunities, provide appropriate investments in technologies, and integrate great ideas into technical capabilities, training, doctrine, and response planning.

1. Sensor processing

Drones are increasingly equipped with multiple types of sensors to include electro-optical, infrared, and light detection and ranging (Lidar). Multispectral imaging provides disaster responders with greater situational awareness to characterize a disaster area, identify survivors after a terrorist attack, and conduct triage to better meet the needs of those survivors. Multispectral imaging could also help collect additional data about an incoming natural hazard and conduct safety inspections to support preparedness efforts, while advances in artificial intelligence can assist in processing and analyzing sensor data for improved prediction of national disaster occurrence, more precise damage assessment, or more effective searches for survivors.[3][4][5][6]

OpenAI Ousts CEO Sam Altman


SAM ALTMAN, WHO as CEO of OpenAI gave the world ChatGPT and became one of the most influential people in technology, has departed the company after losing the confidence of its board.

Altman, who had been at the company since cofounding it in 2015, was told he was fired by OpenAI board member and chief scientist Ilya Sutskever minutes before a public announcement by the board, company president Greg Brockman said in a post on X.

The board's announcement said that a review of Altman's conduct “concluded that he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities.” Mira Murati, previously OpenAI’s chief technology officer, was appointed interim CEO while OpenAI searches for a full-time replacement, the board said.

OpenAI did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Brockman's post and declined to comment on the board's announcement. Altman did not respond to a request for comment.

The announcement said that Greg Brockman, who cofounded OpenAI with Altman alongside leading names in AI and technology including Elon Musk, would also step down from his role as chair of the company’s board.

No reason was given for Brockman’s change in position but he announced that he had resigned from the company several hours after the company's statement. He shared an email sent to OpenAI staff on X. “I’m super proud of what we’ve all built since starting in my apartment 8 years ago," the email said. "We’ve been through tough and great times together, accomplishing so much despite all the reasons it should have been impossible. But based on today’s news, I quit.”

How Social Media Is Turning Into Old-Fashioned Broadcast Media

Christopher Mims

Social media is turning into old-fashioned network television.

A handful of accounts create most of the content that we see. Everyone else? They play the role of the audience, which is there to mostly amplify and applaud. The personal tidbits that people used to share on social media have been relegated to private group chats and their equivalent.

The transformation of social media into mass media is largely because the rise of TikTok has demonstrated to every social-media company on the planet that people still really like things that can re-create the experience of TV. Advertisers also like things that function like TV, of course—after all, people are never more suggestible than when lulled into a sort of anesthetized mindlessness.

In this future, people who are good at making content with high production values will thrive, as audiences and tech company algorithms gravitate toward more professional content.

Meta’s products are a case study in this shift. On the one hand, Instagram head Adam Mosseri has said that in terms of news on Instagram, his focus is to “empower creators.” (He has also indicated that one of his priorities for Meta’s new Twitter-like social Threads is creators, and in a 2022 TED talk, highlighted their ascension.) Meanwhile, his boss Mark Zuckerberg has said that WhatsApp, the messaging app owned by Meta, is the “next chapter” for his company, and since 2019 he has emphasized that, in terms of people connecting through its services, the company will focus on private messaging.