12 December 2023

A Ceasefire Will Not End the Israel-Palestine Conflict

David Schenker

Two months into the war in Gaza, Washington continues to support Israel’s campaign against Hamas. While the Biden administration has worked to extend a temporary truce for hostage/prisoner exchanges, it remains opposed to a permanent ceasefire, which Secretary of State Antony Blinken says “would simply leave Hamas in place able to regroup.” Still, with over 17,000 Palestinians dead, a deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza, protests proliferating, and U.S. forces in the region increasingly being targeted by Iranian proxy militias, it’s unclear how long the administration will maintain its current position. If the past is prologue, the clock is ticking.

Israeli officials say it will take months to achieve its objectives in Gaza, an ambitious agenda that includes hostage release, the degradation of Hamas’ military infrastructure, and the end of its rule over the territory. Amid burgeoning international pressure to end the war, Washington has encouraged pauses in combat operations, not only to allow the return of Israeli hostages but to facilitate the delivery of critical humanitarian assistance to Gazans. The belief is that increased aid will avert a humanitarian catastrophe, giving Israel more time to continue its campaign in the south. At the same time, the administration is warning Israel that if high Palestinian civilian casualties persist, it could bolster the popularity of Hamas, replacing, as Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin put it, “a tactical victory with a strategic defeat.”

The Biden administration is taking a beating at home and abroad for its stance. In the aftermath of the brutal October 7 Hamas attack, however, Washington recognizes—in the words of Secretary Blinken—there cannot be “a reversion to the status quo.” Going forward, the challenge for Washington will be to sustain its support for Israeli military operations while preventing a regional war, avoiding diplomatic isolation, and further stressing regional partnerships. Squaring this circle will be no mean feat. In early November, France, which initially backed Israel’s campaign, called for a ceasefire. Yesterday, only the United States voted against a ceasefire resolution in the UN Security Council, with the United Kingdom abstaining.

Israel and Palestine: How peace is possible

If you want to understand how desperately Israelis and Palestinians need peace, consider what would become of them in a state of perpetual war. Against a vastly superior Israeli army, the Palestinians’ most powerful weapon would remain the death and suffering of their own people. Israel’s fate would be woeful, too, if it wants to be a flourishing, modern democracy. If Israel permanently relies on its army to subjugate the Palestinians, it would become an apartheid-enforcing pariah. Israelis carrying out daily acts of oppression punctuated by rounds of killing would themselves be corrupted. For two peoples locked in a violent embrace, peace is the only deliverance.

But how to get there? Israelis are still reeling from the rape and murder of October 7th; Palestinians are watching the mangled bodies of women and children pile up in Gaza. Amid the carnage, outsiders’ urging of peace seems naive. Besides, jaded Palestinians and Israelis see endless talks as a mechanism for delaying peace, not forging it. Negotiators in the past have thrashed out almost every imaginable permutation of land swaps and security arrangements.

Antony Blinken Is Hardly the Next Kissinger


Comparisons between the October 7 massacre and the Yom Kippur War of 1973 naturally abound. First there’s the date: Hamas committed its massacre exactly 50 years and one day after that fateful day of atonement in 1973. The new trauma was intended to echo the old.

Then there is the astounding intelligence failure. Fifty years ago, Israel failed to understand the enemy’s rational calculations. Now it failed to see the enemy’s irrational devotion to genocidal antisemitism. In both cases, Israeli intelligence was beholden to a mistaken preconception: since it can’t be in the enemy’s interest to attack, any information that suggested otherwise must be unreliable.

There is also, in both cases, Israel’s over-dependence on American materiel, which gives the U.S. powerful leverage over our policy at a time of mortal peril. And this similarity naturally leads to a comparison between the roles played by two American Jewish secretaries of state—the late Henry Kissinger in 1973, and Antony Blinken in the present.

According to a report in The Times of Israel, Blinken told Israel during his most recent visit that “it cannot operate in southern Gaza in the way it has done in the north.” He also warned that the U.S. would frown upon further displacement of Gaza’s population: “You need to evacuate fewer people from their homes, be more accurate in the attacks, not hit U.N. facilities, and ensure that there are enough protected areas [for civilians]. And if not? Then not to attack where there is a civilian population.”

Kissinger’s policy was focused on pushing America’s great power rivals out. American policy today is inviting them in.

Israel, Hamas Engage In Fierce Battles In Gaza’s Biggest Cities

Israel attacked Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip’s biggest cities on Thursday, leaving 350 people dead and thousands of Palestinian civilians searching for shelter to escape the ravages of the war.

Many displaced Gazans crammed into Rafah on the southern border with Egypt, where Israeli leaflets urged Palestinians to flee, saying they would be safe. But the Hamas-controlled health ministry reported at least 37 deaths in overnight Israeli air attacks.

The Israeli military Thursday accused militants of firing rockets from areas near Rafah near the humanitarian zone.

United Nations officials said there are no safe places in Gaza. More than 85% of the territory’s population of more than 2 million people has already fled their homes or shelters, sometimes more than once.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres used a rarely exercised power to warn the Security Council of an impending “humanitarian catastrophe” in the narrow enclave along the Mediterranean Sea and urged members to demand a cease-fire.

The United States, Israel’s chief supporter, has repeatedly called on the Jewish state to limit civilian deaths, saying too many Palestinians were killed when it destroyed much of Gaza City and the north. But the U.S. has said a blanket cease-fire would benefit Hamas and is likely to block any U.N. effort to halt the fighting.

A week-long cease-fire that ended December 1 led to the release of nearly 100 hostages being held by Hamas, although the militants are believed to still hold about 140 more.

Can Qatar Navigate Fraught Hostage Negotiations with Hamas?

This commentary was originally published in The Hill on November 16, 2023.

Israel confronts agonizing dilemmas in trying to meet two of its principal war objectives: eliminating Hamas and the urgent need to rescue the more than 239 hostages held in Gaza.

Just days after the horrific October 7 Hamas terrorist attacks and hostage-taking in Israel, I was asked on CNN if there was any hope for recovering Hamas-held hostages. My response was one of cautious optimism.

First, my sanguine perspectives are bolstered by my confidence in Israeli military and intelligence capabilities, notwithstanding their obvious failures to prevent the October 7 attacks. Second, my views are buoyed by reflections of having participated in a three-day bilateral Qatar-U.S. hostage recovery exercise in July. Importantly, I learned that the Qataris exercise a great deal of patience and have an innate sense of how to mediate and negotiate.

During the Doha exercise, the Qatar Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Interior, the State Security Agency and the Internal Security Force (Lekhwiya) actively and enthusiastically participated in the July workshop along with representatives of the Department of State, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Besides the intense learning and collaboration, the special presidential envoy for hostage affairs, Ambassador Roger Carstens, noted the value of building partnerships and trust. And despite a recent Qatar-mediated dealin freeing five wrongfully detained Americans in Iran, few could have predicted that Qatar would be so central to hostage negotiations with Hamas for Israelis and other foreign nationals in the current crisis.

The Great Himalayan Chessboard: China, India, and the Geopolitical Gambit in Nepal ANALYSIS

Nara Sritharan Kritika Jothishankar Sarah Wozniak

Chinese and Indian interest in Nepal’s immense hydropower potential has made it a focal point of geopolitical competition.

Political instability, bureaucratic red tape, and underdeveloped infrastructure prevent Nepal from harnessing its hydropower potential.

The United States should closely monitor the geopolitical maneuvering between China and India in Nepal’s hydropower sector to balance its regional interests and support Nepal’s development goals.

Nepal’s geographical and topographical attributes have endowed it with a newfound significance in the foreign policy realm, where nations strategically pursue power and influence. This significance is particularly pronounced in hydropower development, where the confluence of ambitions between China and India has transformed Nepal into a focal point of their intricate power play. Regarding geography and geopolitics, Nepal occupies a hazardous place on the map. The country sits where the Indian subcontinent meets the mighty Himalayas, leaving it subject to frequent earthquakes. At the same time, Nepal remains uncomfortably poised between Asia’s two leading powers, China and India. The longtime diplomatic rivalry between Beijing and New Delhi for political influence in Nepal now has a new focus—the country’s hydropower sector.

Will China's sprawling debt problem worsen?

Turmoil in China's housing market, coupled with weak consumer sentiment, is weighing on the nation's economy. Once the country's largest property developer, Evergrande is now facing a lawsuit that may end with its liquidation, while Dalian Wanda Group, China's largest mall operator, is shedding assets in an effort to avoid a default.

Debt-laden local governments are also struggling in the world's second-largest economy.

Western Firms Should Leave China Now


On his recent visit to the United States, Chinese President Xi Jinping encouraged American companies to regard his country as a close trading partner. In fact, US companies should be seeking to move their supply chains and other business away from China – while they still have the time. Through its deliberate and repeated actions, China is heading for an economic showdown with the US.

For many decades, Western governments have pursued versions of what Germans call Wandel durch Handel (change through trade), hoping to achieve global stability, reduce international confrontation, and (perhaps) promote more democracy through economic interaction with authoritarian regimes. The idea is simple: countries that trade extensively with each other will not jeopardize the resulting profits and jobs by going to war; prosperity and interdependence mitigate aggression.

In the post-World War II era, this strategy has sometimes worked astonishingly well. The establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952 took the key inputs for weapons production out of the hands of national governments and led to the European Union today. Germany and France (and later other Western European countries) became tightly linked by mutual trade and investment, so that war between any of them would impose an unbearable cost on victim and aggressor alike. Western Europe, a region that for centuries had been the most prone to interstate violence (often with disastrous global spillovers), became a bastion of peace.

China’s Short-Sighted AI Regulation


From the government to the courts, Chinese authorities have become fixated on ensuring that the country can surpass the US to become the global leader in artificial intelligence, no matter the cost. They seem not to realize just how high that cost may turn out to be.

PARIS – The Beijing Internet Court’s ruling that content generated by artificial intelligence can be covered by copyright has caused a stir in the AI community, not least because it clashes with the stances adopted in other major jurisdictions, including the United States. In fact, that is partly the point: the ruling advances a wider effort in China to surpass the US to become a global leader in AI.

Not everyone views the ruling as all that consequential. Some commentators point out that the Beijing Internet Court is a relatively low-level institution, operating within a legal system where courts are not obligated to follow precedents. But, while technically true, this interpretation misses the point, because it focuses narrowly on Chinese law, as written. In the Chinese legal context, decisions like this one both reflect and shape policy.

In 2017, China’s leaders set the ambitious goal of achieving global AI supremacy by 2030. But the barriers to success have proved substantial – and they continue to multiply. Over the last year or so, the US has made it increasingly difficult for China to acquire the chips it needs to develop advanced AI technologies, such as large language models, that can compete with those coming out of the US. President Joe Biden’s administration further tightened those regulations in October.

In response to this campaign, China’s government has mobilized a whole-of-society effort to accelerate AI development, channeling vast investment toward the sector and limiting regulatory hurdles. In its Interim Measures for the Management of Generative Artificial Intelligence Services – which entered into effect in August – the government urged administrative authorities and courts at all levels to adopt a cautious and tolerant regulatory stance toward AI.

What China’s increasing use of military over diplomacy means for US

Noah Robertson

In August 2022, after former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, China’s military did the talking.

It lobbed ballistic missiles around the island, some landing just inside Japanese waters. More than 20 Chinese aircraft flew across the midpoint between the mainland and Taiwan, a move once considered taboo. The People’s Liberation Army staged elaborate military exercises, rehearsing the parts it could play in an actual invasion.

There were two key aspects of the response: One, the PLA flouted norms — and has kept doing so in the year since — that had kept the Taiwan Strait stable for decades. And two, while China’s government had multiple ways to signal its displeasure at the visit, it chose its military.

This is a new hallmark of Chinese foreign policy under President Xi Jinping, according to the Pentagon’s annual assessment of China’s military strength.

“The [People’s Republic of China] has increasingly turned to the PLA as an instrument of statecraft to advance its foreign policy objectives,” the report noted.

In other words, when China senses a problem abroad, it’s now more likely to use the military to solve it. This approach, say Pentagon officials and outside analysts, has been in the works for years and speaks to the PLA’s weight class.

China has spent decades bolstering its military with the goal to fully become a “world class” force by 2049. That offers challenges for the U.S., which has spent recent years shoring up alliances and partnerships in the vast Indo-Pacific region.

While the U.S. may soon encounter Chinese forces in more areas around the globe, it’s also concerned about China’s desire to unite Taiwan with the mainland, since Beijing considers the island nation a rogue province. And a foreign policy reliant on military force could make an invasion more likely.

Community watch: China’s vision for the future of the internet

Dakota Cary
Table of contents

Executive summary

China recognizes that many nondemocratic and illiberal developing nations need internet connectivity for economic development. These countries aim to digitize trade, government services, and social interactions, but interconnectivity risks better communication and coordination among political dissidents. China understands this problem and is trying to build global norms that facilitate the provision of its censorship and surveillance tools to other countries. This so-called Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace, is based around the idea of cyber sovereignty. China contends that it is a state’s right to protect its political system, determine what content is appropriate within its borders, create its own standards for cybersecurity, and govern access to the infrastructure of the internet.

Jointly Building a Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace, a white paper from the government of the People’s Republic of China (most recently released in 2022 but reissued periodically since 2015), is a continuation of diplomatic efforts to rally the international community around China’s concept of cyber sovereignty.1 By extending the concept of sovereignty to cyberspace, China makes the argument that the state decides the content, operations, and norms of its internet; that each state is entitled to such determinations as a de facto right of its existence; that all states should have equal say in the administration of the global internet; and that it is the role of the state to balance claims of citizens and the international community (businesses, mostly, but also other states and governing bodies).

But making the world safe for authoritarian governments is only part of China’s motivation. As the key provider of censorship-ready internet equipment and surveillance tools, China’s concept of cyber sovereignty offers political security to other illiberal governments. Case studies in this report demonstrate how such technologies may play a role in keeping China’s friends in power.

US Deals with Allies Signal Concerns Over China's Disinformation Campaign

Christy Lee

Western foreign policy experts are welcoming recent U.S. agreements to jointly tackle foreign disinformation with Seoul and Tokyo, saying they are needed to counter Chinese efforts to undermine liberal democracies through the spread of fake news.

The U.S. signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with Japan in Tokyo on Wednesday "to identify and counter foreign information manipulation," according to a State Department statement.

The agreement follows a Memorandum of Understanding signed with South Korea in Seoul on Friday to cooperate in their efforts to tackle foreign disinformation. The agreements, the first designed to fight disinformation, were made during an Asia trip by Liz Allen, the U.S. undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs.

They are designed to "demonstrate the seriousness with which the United States is working with its partners to defend the information space," according to the State Department's Wednesday statement, which did not specify any nations as threats.

In response, Liu Pengyu, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, told VOA on Tuesday that he wants to stress that "China always opposes the creation and spread of disinformation."

He said, "What I have seen is that there is a lot of disinformation about China on social media in the U.S. Some U.S. officials, lawmakers, media and organizations have produced and spread a large amount of false information against China without any evidence, ignoring basic facts."

The agreements the U.S. made with its allies are "a deliberate acknowledgment of the threats posed by China," said David Maxwell, vice president of the Center for Asia Pacific Strategy.

China Won’t Invade Taiwan – For Now

Philip Hou

On the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leader’s Meeting in San Francisco last month, Chinese leader Xi Jinping told U.S. President Joe Biden that Taiwan is the “biggest” and “most dangerous issue” between the United States and China. In response, Biden asserted the U.S. commitment to defending “Indo-Pacific allies.” Should the U.S. worry about an impending invasion in the Taiwan Strait?

Predictions of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan range mostly from 2027 to 2050, although one U.S. admiral even suggested an attack before 2024. Some have begun to warn of an earlier invasion if the United States becomes increasingly entangled in wars in Europe and the Middle East, creating a possible three-front war. Others, including Taiwan’s own foreign minister, believe Xi may pounce on Taiwan if China’s domestic problems threaten Xi’s grip on power.

In contrast to the constant bombardment of warnings on Taiwan’s perilous future, the Biden-Xi summit, and evolving China-Taiwan-U.S. dynamics suggest a slim probability of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan in the short-term. While China’s long-term intention for Taiwan remains unchanged, there are reasons to believe that peace will hold in the Taiwan Strait, for now.

The Biden-Xi summit in San Francisco was the first time Xi had travelled to the U.S. since his meeting with then-President Donald Trump in Mar-a-Lago in 2017. The imagery of Xi and Biden walking shoulder to shoulder through the Filoli Estate Garden effectively demonstrated the essence of the meeting: the desire on both sides to stabilize relations and reduce risks of war.

China’s economic plan is bankrupt


John Rapley is a political economist at Cambridge University, and the author of Twilight of the Money Gods. His next book, co-authored with Peter Heather, is Why Empires Fall: Rome, America and the Future of the West, published on 25 May

Over recent months, the mainstream media has been overtaken by fears of a debt crisis in the developing world. The rapid interest-rate rises implemented by Western central banks have refreshed memories of the Eighties, when a similar tightening cycle precipitated a fiscal collapse and ushered in what came to be known as a “lost decade” for many countries. In that vein, a recent UNCTAD report noted the great increase in debt that occurred in emerging markets during the pandemic, and warned that a similar cycle could be brewing.

Perhaps. But too great a focus on the developing world is obscuring a very real and impending debt crisis elsewhere. Because even though the report noted that 30% of global debt is owed by emerging markets (and has risen sharply), that figure is misleading. Nearly half that debt it is owed by one country: China.

If you take the Middle Kingdom out of the mix, the developing world is actually in reasonably good shape. China, by contrast, has followed a trajectory more like that of a Western country. Its debt soared after the 2008 financial crisis, and then some more after the pandemic. Private debt, which is much less of a feature in developing countries, has similarly risen to record levels, bringing China’s total debt stock to nearly three times the size of the economy, in line with Western competitors. Well before reaching those levels, a typical emerging market would have run into a fiscal crisis. The classic example is Argentina, a country whose official debt burden may rival China’s but whose private debt is negligible. It is now mired in an intractable economic stagnation — one that Javier Milei’s wheeze of abolishing the country’s central bank will not ameliorate.

The Climate Envoys Who Could

Lili Pike

Early last month, John Kerry and Xie Zhenhua, the special climate envoys representing the United States and China, held talks in southern California ahead of the Xi-Biden summit. The location—Sunnylands, a desert estate near Palm Springs—was symbolic. It was there that Xi Jinping and Barack Obama first met as presidents in 2013 and secured a climate breakthrough: a commitment to phase out hydrofluorocarbons, a group of powerful greenhouse gases used in refrigerators and air conditioners.

As Kerry and Xie arrived in Sunnylands 10 years later, they found themselves in more perilous circumstances, and with a finite window of opportunity. Friction between the U.S. and China disrupted climate talks in 2022, and new tensions—whether from the South China Sea or Taiwan’s upcoming January election—could slam the window shut again. Plus, Xie, China’s lead climate negotiator for the better part of two decades, will reportedly retire later this month.

The two envoys wasted no time during their summit, according to two climate experts familiar with the discussions. Kerry, who is 79, and Xie, who is 74 and recently recovered from a stroke, stayed up until 2 or 3 a.m. every night, hashing out plans. When the meetings reached their scheduled end, Kerry and his team drove west to Los Angeles with Xie, checking in to the Chinese team’s hotel to continue talking until their flight’s departure.

Climate has become a rare area of in-depth coordination between the two superpowers; the joint statement that would emerge from Sunnylands was the latest of three such statements from Xie and Kerry in the past three years. They are the elder statesmen of the climate circuit—Xie’s ruddy, round face as familiar as Kerry’s gaunt silhouette at international conferences. The extent of U.S.-China cooperation, former Chinese and U.S. officials as well as climate experts told Foreign Policy, is partly attributable to the two envoys and their bond, developed over decades of negotiations.

“This is a very good example of how personal leadership can transcend national differences,” said Li Shuo, director of the China climate hub at the Asia Society Policy Institute. “I think both Xie and Kerry, they are pushing that potential to the limit.” The two men have known each other for 25 years, and for both, climate diplomacy is far more than a job—it is a mission.


Frank Hoffman

There is an ongoing debate in the US military establishment about the changing character of war. Officially, we acknowledge the need for significant change over continuity, yet very few agree on the details. Ongoing conflicts raise questions. In particular, just how will the rapid diffusion of low-cost unmanned systems and an array of accurate, lethal top-attack munitions impact warfare and US defense priorities? How should tomorrow’s landpower adapt to the purported changing character of war. What is now a legacy capability and what are the new priorities shaping US military investments? A new book, The Arms of the Future: Technology and Close Combat in the Twenty-First Century, gets to the heard of that debate, taking a forward-leaning look at these questions and urging adaptation. It races up to and past what a prior article in these pages called “the inflection point between evolutionary and revolutionary adaptation.”

The author’s thesis is clear: despite more than adequate evidence of the need to change how armies fight, they are not modernizing or restructuring their forces properly. Rather than transform the force coherently, “Armies today are largely seeking to retain tried and tested structures while adding new capabilities onto their platforms.” Bolting new capabilities onto existing platforms, the author contends, is inefficient and adds costs.

The author of this consistently informative and often provocative book is a senior research fellow at the London-based Royal United Services Institute. Jack Watling is widely recognized as an international expert in land warfare and has drawn accolades for a series of consistently penetrating monographs and commentaries on the ongoing war in Ukraine. His latest product is not simply an academic exercise; it is built upon extensive interviews, experimentation reports, direct observation, and interviews from exercises and contemporary wars.

Watling’s design builds from the bottom up, logically tracing from tasks to structure. His ideas are already influencing European military thinking, particularly how the British Army intends to fight—more dispersed and also more lethal. They are wholly deserving of serious attention by the US defense establishment as we adapt American defense priorities after Ukraine. It’s going to take innovative thinking and creative applications of tactics, techniques, and advanced training to address the action/counteraction dynamics inherent to war.

Russian influence and cyber operations adapt for long haul and exploit war fatigue

Since July 2023, Russia-aligned influence actors have tricked celebrities into providing video messages which were then used in pro-Russian propaganda. These videos were then manipulated to falsely paint Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as a drug addict. This is one of the insights in the latest biannual report on Russian digital threats from the Microsoft Threat Analysis Center – Russian threat actors dig in, prepare to seize on war fatigue. 

As described in more detail in the report, this campaign aligns with the Russian government’s broader strategic efforts during the period from March to October 2023, across cyber and influence operations (IO), to stall Ukrainian military advances and diminish support for Kyiv.

Unwitting American actors and others appear to have been asked, likely via video message platforms such as Cameo, to send a message to someone called “Vladimir”, pleading with him to seek help for substance abuse. The videos were then modified to include emojis, links and sometimes the logos of media outlets and circulated through social media channels to advance longstanding false Russian claims that the Ukrainian leader struggles with substance abuse. The Microsoft Threat Analysis Center has observed seven such videos since late July 2023, featuring personalities such as Priscilla Presley, musician Shavo Odadjian and actors Elijah Wood, Dean Norris, Kate Flannery, and John McGinley. 

The August 2023 death of Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, who owned the Wagner Group and the infamous Internet Research agency troll farm, led many to question the future of Russia’s influence and propaganda capabilities. However, since then, Microsoft has observed widespread influence operations by Russian actors that are not linked to Prigozhin, indicating that Russia has the capacity to continue prolific and sophisticated malign influence operations without him. 

Russia’s seasonal focus switched to degrade Ukrainian agriculture 

Army employee charged with stealing $100 million from fund for military children


An Army civilian employee in Texas is accused in a federal indictment of stealing more than $100 million from a fund meant to help military children.

Janet Yamanaka Mello, 57, was indicted Wednesday in a San Antonio district court on 10 total criminal counts including mail fraud, engaging in a monetary transaction using criminal proceeds and aggravated identity theft.

Federal prosecutors say Mello used her position as a financial program manager for Child, Youth and School services at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio to steer 4-H Military Partnership Grant program funds into a shell company she controlled.

The grant program helps military children participate in projects with 4-H, which is a traditionally farming-focused network of youth organizations administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Mello founded Child Health and Youth Lifelong Development in 2016 in order to take grant money from the program, the indictment alleged.

Prosecutors said her business didn’t provide services to military members and their families, as Mello said it would.

The CIA Sure Looks Busy


The rise of generative AI applications like ChatGPT, Midjourney or Bard already leads to increased demand in the world's data center network due to its sometimes hefty requirements for the underlying large language models.

This computing demand will only increase in the upcoming years, necessitating the building of new data centers and expanding the capacities of existing ones.

As Statista's Florian Zandt shows in the following chart, based on 2022 data collected by commercial real estate company Cushman & Wakefield, the race between the global superpowers China and the United States also extends to data centers.

You will find more infographics at Statista

The highest concentration of data center power capacity in the world can be found in Northern Virginia, particularly the counties of Loudoun and Prince William.

EDITOR'S NOTES: The 'God of War' Now Shoots and Scoots

Stew Magnuson
LONDON — The DSEI trade show in London has a smorgasbord of panel discussions and keynote speakers spread out in the exhibition halls on six separate stages.
Sometimes it’s hard to choose which one to attend.

But one stood out on day three of the show this year: “Lessons Learned from Ukraine: Does Artillery Win Wars?”

It’s an intriguing question in this day and age, and if the panel had been stocked with think tank types, historians and the like, it would have still been an interesting discussion, but the presence of Lt. Col. Yurii Patskan — officer of the main directorate of rocket forces and field artillery and unmanned systems of the general staff of the armed forces of Ukraine — made it more than an academic question.

For the besieged nation, artillery has become its lifeline, and 155mm rounds are the coin of the realm.

Many agreed, as every seat was taken, leaving a standing room only crowd.

Joining Patskan were artillery officers from France and the United Kingdom, along with the moderator Nick Elliott, U.K. chair of the artificial intelligence company Helsing and a former royal engineer in the British Army.

Joseph Stalin called artillery the “god of war,” Elliott pointed out to the crowd by way of introducing the topic.

“Is that still the case?”

Mass of fires may not be the most important aspect of artillery, he noted.

U.S. Army Moves To Mobilize And Disperse Its Increasingly Vulnerable Command Posts

Loren Thompson

U.S. Army planners have learned an important lesson from observing Russian tactics in recent wars: if you want to avoid becoming a casualty, you better not stay in the same place for long. The Russians will find you and take you out.

That wasn’t a big concern when U.S. forces were fighting rag-tag irregulars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the focus of military strategy has now shifted to great-power competition, and the Russians are demonstrating what might await American soldiers on future battlefields.

So, mobility and dispersion have become critical to survival, and nowhere is that more true than in the case of tactical command posts.

Command posts are the nerve centers of maneuver warfare, continually sending and receiving intelligence, issuing orders to field units, and assuring that the movements of friendly forces are synchronized.

It is nearly impossible to sustain successful operations in modern warfare without secure command posts that are wirelessly connected to local forces and higher command via satellite links.

However, the traditional approach to establishing command posts in war zones—laboriously setting up tents filled with electronic equipment and tactical specialists—isn’t going to work in combat with a high-end adversary.

US Risks Being Dragged Into Third War

Ellie Cook

The U.S. could be heading toward involvement in another global conflict as tensions between Venezuela and neighboring Guyana skyrocket following a controversial referendum that sparked fears of a land grab in South America.

The U.S. military said on Thursday that its Southern Command forces would carry out "flight operations within Guyana" later in the day, and that Washington would "continue its commitment as Guyana's trusted security partner."

On Sunday, voters in Venezuela backed the proposals of Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro to claim sovereignty over the contested Essequibo region, which has been a bone of contention between Venezuela and Guyana for more than a century. The resource-rich Essequibo region is controlled by Georgetown, making up more than two-thirds of Guyana's territory.

An 1899 ruling declared Essequibo a part of Guyana, which was then a British colony. A 1966 agreement between the U.K. and Venezuela to resolve the dispute has not stopped the flaring of tensions between the two countries, which intensified after oil and gas giant ExxonMobil said in 2015 it had made a "a significant oil discovery" in the region.

How To Develop An Intelligence-Driven Cybersecurity Approac

Aleksey Lapshin

In the digital era, information is at the heart of everything. The more information you have and the sooner you can obtain it, the more competitive you will be. This is also true in cybersecurity, where timely intelligence can provide you with a robust defense against both emerging and well-known threats.

Because of this, organizations have developed the intelligence-driven cybersecurity strategy, a data-driven approach to cybersecurity that utilizes insights from a wide range of internal and external sources to identify and reduce cyber risks.

Intelligence-driven cybersecurity involves collecting, analyzing and interpreting data from security logs, incident reports, threat intelligence feeds and other sources to gain visibility into the threat landscape and the organization's security posture.

How Threat Intelligence Can Bolster Cybersecurity

Organizations often rely solely on internal sources of threat intelligence, such as security logs and incident reports, but this can be risky, as internal sources may miss emerging and unforeseen threats.

External threat intelligence products, such as feeds and centralized databases, can help organizations address this gap by providing them with insights into the latest threats, attack vectors and tactics used by adversaries. External threat intelligence can be obtained from a variety of sources, including:

• Commercial Threat Intelligence Vendors: These vendors collect and analyze data from a variety of source—including the dark web, social media and public databases—to identify and track emerging threats.

• Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT): OSINT is publicly available information that can be collected and analyzed to gain insights into threats and adversaries. OSINT sources include news articles, blog posts, social media posts and malware repositories.

UK AI Summit Debrief Part 2: The State of International AI Safety Governance

Michael Frank

In a landmark effort to shape global artificial intelligence (AI) safety governance, on November 1 and 2, the UK government convened the first international AI Safety Summit. This initiative marks a significant step towards collaborative international efforts in AI governance and safety. Part 1 of this debrief explained how the summit framed AI safety. Part 2 charts the path forward for AI safety governance after the summit.

The primary output of the summit is the Bletchley Declaration, a statement of intent for global AI safety governance. There are five main principles represented in the declaration:Ensuring human-centric, trustworthy, and responsible AI

Adopting regulatory frameworks that balance risks with benefits

Collaborating across countries and sectors to help strengthen AI diffusion in developing countries

Calling on frontier AI developers to commit to safety testing, evaluations, transparency and accountability

Identifying safety risks of shared concern

Lawmakers nix proposal to create military cyber intelligence capability


Members of Congress have eliminated a proposed directive that the Department of Defense establish a dedicated cyber intelligence center.

The Senate earlier this year passed a provision as part of its version of the annual defense policy bill, that would have directed the secretary of defense to establish a new organization to support the requirements of U.S. Cyber Command along with other combatant commands, military departments and agencies. However, in the conference report for the reconciled version of the fiscal 2024 National Defense Authorization Act, House and Senate conferees noted that they took the provision out.

“The conferees agree that intelligence support to the planning and execution of cyber operations conducted below the level of armed conflict, for preparation of the operational environment, and at each level of operational art — strategic, operational, and tactical — must be substantially improved. The conferees believe that the causes of, and solutions to, this requirement are complex,” the report states. “The conferees are not prepared at this time to dictate a specific organizational solution, but expect the Secretary of Defense to generate and implement one.”

For years, dating back to when Cybercom was created, there have been talks about building the capability and capacity for developing organic cyber intelligence within the U.S. military. Relatedly, as cyber has grown in importance, there have been increasing discussions at the Defense Intelligence Agency regarding what constitutes foundational cyber intelligence.