30 April 2024

How the BJP Wins Over Women


India has experienced a decade of political churning with little sign of abating. With the rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2014, India’s conservative movement has found new wind in its sails. This rejuvenation has sparked a wave of cultural revivalism, reshaped party systems, altered caste equations, and prompted a shift toward mercantilist economic ideologies.

Adding to these winds of change, the past decade and a half has witnessed a remarkable increase in women’s political participation, which has led to a scramble among political parties to consolidate the “women’s vote” with varying degrees of success. 

Ashoka Mody argues that India is stunted by a lack of moral leadership

Dan Williams

Last december French authorities detained 303 Indians at Vatry airport. The passengers were on their way from the United Arab Emirates to Nicaragua, a hotspot for would-be migrants who pay touts to get them into America illegally. According to the Pew Research Centre, between 2017 and 2021 Indians were the fastest-growing nationality of illegal migrants entering America, with border-agency data suggesting a possible acceleration since. As the mirage of urban employment at home recedes, large numbers of Indians are risking their lives to slip into labour markets in North America, Europe and Australia.

Strategic Policy Needed for Pakistan’s SMEs

Rameen Shahid

In Pakistan’s intricate economic landscape, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) form the fabric that sustains the entire infrastructure. Their significance cannot be overstated. SMEs represent around 90 percent of businesses globally; there are around 5.2 million in Pakistan. They contribute 40 percent to the GDP, account for 30 percent of exports, and employ over 80 percent of the non-agricultural workforce in Pakistan. However, despite their critical role, economic inefficiencies significantly challenge their progress and realization of SMEs’ potential.

China firms go 'underground' on Russia payments as banks pull back

An appliance maker in southern China is finding it hard to ship its products to Russia, not because of any problems with the gadgets but because China's big banks are throttling payments for such transactions out of concern over U.S. sanctions.

To settle payments for its electrical goods, the Guangdong-based company is considering using currency brokers active along China's border with Russia, said the company's founder, Wang, who asked to be identified only by his family name.

The U.S. has imposed an array of sanctions on Russia and Russian entities since the country invaded Ukraine in 2022.

Farewell to China’s Strategic Support Force. Let’s meet its replacements


The unexpected elimination of the People’s Liberation Army unit that handled space, cyber, and electronic warfare missions is all the more surprising because the Strategic Support Force seemed to just be coming into its own.

On April 19, the PLA announced that three co-equal forces—the Aerospace Force, Cyberspace Force, and Information Support Force—would be established to replace the SFF, itself created as part of the broad 2015 reorganization that also birthed the PLA Rocket Force.

Stabilizing the Growing Taiwan Crisis: New Messaging and Understandings are Urgently Needed

Michael D. Swaine

In the leadup to Taiwan’s January 13 presidential election, many observers expected a highly belligerent response from Beijing if the very pro–independence Lai Ching–te were elected, a response perhaps greater than the intensive, prolonged saber rattling and strong rhetoric that followed former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s quasi–official trip to the island in 2022.1This, by and large, did not occur. 

China’s military elevates information, space and cyber operations in biggest defence shakeup in 9 year

China's military is elevating its information, cyber and space operations in a clear indication of its priorities as it undergoes the biggest reorganisation in nearly a decade.

The People’s Liberation Army unveiled a new strategic branch dedicated to information operations last Friday (Apr 19), called the Information Support Force. Defence Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said its establishment is a “major decision” made for the cause of building a strong military.

China military's biggest shakeup in 9 years adds info, cyber, space unit


China has created new independent People's Liberation Army units for information, space and cyber operations in its most sweeping military reorganization in nearly a decade.

The old Strategic Support Force was broken up and replaced with the three new arms, one of which, the Information Support Force, is responsible for gathering and analyzing information, building communication networks and protecting vital systems.

Xi shakes up China’s military in rethink of how to ‘fight and win’ future wars

Nectar Gan

China has rolled out the largest restructuring of its military in almost a decade, focusing on technology-driven strategic forces equipped for modern warfare, as Beijing vies with Washington for military primacy in a region rife with geopolitical tensions.

In a surprise move last week, Chinese leader Xi Jinping scrapped the Strategic Support Force (SSF), a military branch he created in 2015 to integrate the People’s Liberation Army’s space, cyber, electronic and psychological warfare capabilities as part of a sweeping overhaul of the armed forces.

Why China remains unlikely to invade Taiwan


The United States, and Washington DC in particular, is awash with expectations of war against China in the near future, most likely caused by a Chinese decision to forcibly annex Taiwan.
Beijing’s attempts to intimidate the US government into abandoning support for Taiwan have failed.

Plenty of Americans — including senior military officers, academics, and politicians — think Chinese leader Xi Jinping sees war as the best option. 

Stuxnet: the first true cyberweapo

Niamh Ancell

In the middle of the desert, suppressed under a thick layer of concrete, lies one of the most ambitious and secretive projects Iran has ever seen, one guarded by an entire army and isolated from the rest of the world.

This place is Natanz, a top-secret nuclear facility approximately 200 miles from Tehran.

This facility has one goal, one objective: to develop Iran’s very first nuclear bomb.

Serious investments are needed to build a nuclear weapon. You’re talking top nuclear physicists, high-tech facilities, advanced equipment, and a lot of research.

The Israel-Iran Conflict Through an Intelligence Len

Relevant, timely, and actionable intelligence plays a pivotal role for organizations with direct or indirect interests in the Middle East, as well as other regions engaged in, or susceptible to, physical conflict. Just as we have provided insights into other global conflicts, including the Israel-Hamas War and the Russia-Ukraine War, this blog aims to utilize our current intelligence, historical data, and expert analysis to offer crucial perspectives—from timelines and contextual background to sophisticated, data-driven analyses—into the evolving conflict between Israel and Iran across cyber, physical, and geopolitical battlefields.

Military genius of Gustavus Adolphus, the ‘Lion of the North

Jessica Evans

Ahh, Gustavus. The name just sounds like a badass, right? Crowned as the "Lion of the North," Gustavus was no typical king. Born during a chilly December in 1594, his rule shifted Sweden from a side character to a leading role in Europe's complex political drama. On top of that, he switched up the game rules of war, leaving a legacy that resonates even today.

From teen king to tactical genius

Just think, you're 17, probably juggling homework and hormones, and boom! You're king. That was Gustavus' story, a royal teen dropped in the deep end of a war with Denmark after his dad, Charles IX, bid his final goodbye in 1611. Not exactly the sweet 17th birthday gift you'd hope for, huh?

NATO’s Real Problem is Europe, Not The U.S.

Ramon Marks

Following the organization’s seventy-fifth anniversary, the conventional wisdom about NATO is that it is threatened by growing U.S. “isolationism.” Critics say that former President Trump could withdraw the United States from NATO if he is reelected. Controversy in Congress delayed supplying $60 billion in additional military aid to Ukraine. Trump has said that “he would encourage” the Russians “to do whatever the hell they want” to allies that fail to meet the 2 percent of GDP defense spending pledge. 

Bringing Russia to Its Knees

William Courtney & Philip Wasielewski

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin rants that the West seeks to “dismember and plunder” his country. He is not the first Kremlin leader to allege imagined perfidy. In World War II, Stalin suspected the Allies of delaying a second front so the Nazis could finish off the USSR. Early in the Reagan era, a deluded Kremlin feared the U.S. might launch a nuclear first strike.

Today, Putin’s paranoia and evil intent is so great that last month he ridiculed U.S. warnings of an imminent terrorist attack. Days later ISIS-K killed over 100 people at a concert in Moscow. 

HII Delivers Attack Boat New Jersey to Navy


HII Newport News Shipbuilding has delivered the 23rd Vrginia-class nuclear attack submarine to the U.S. Navy, the company announced in a Thursday statement.

New Jersey (SSN-796) is the fifth Block IV Virginia attack boat and the first designed from the keel up to accommodate mixed gender crews. The boat completed sea trials earlier this year off the coast of Virginia.

“It is a proud day for our entire team when we deliver a high-quality submarine like New Jersey to the fleet,” Jason Ward, HII’s vice president of Virginia-class submarine construction, said in a statement.

Why Federal Agencies Must Learn from the Cyber Safety Review Board Report on Microsoft - OPINION

Sean Moran

The US government spends tens of billions of dollars every year procuring products and services from outside contractors and vendors. These relationships are essential to ensuring government services run smoothly, cash flow continues, and contracts to private sector companies get honored.

However, one government function that cannot be outsourced is oversight – federal agencies are responsible for ensuring that the services they purchase are delivered – on-time, complete, and error-free. However, as a recent report shows, the US government oversight is failing in one critical field – cybersecurity – and the time has come to rethink our approach.

Digital Blitzkrieg: Unveiling Cyber-Logistics Warfare

Chahak Mittal

Imagine you're standing in a bustling city, surrounded by the symphony of commerce. The exchange of goods and the flow of transportation are all around you. This is the heartbeat of our global economy. But what would happen if this heartbeat were to be disrupted? If the very lifeblood of our interconnected world were to falter — or worse, come to a grinding halt?

The consequences would be catastrophic. Imagine empty shelves in grocery stores, gas stations running out of fuel, and hospitals unable to get the supplies they need. Imagine widespread panic and social unrest.

America’s Military Isn’t Providing Enough Bang for the Buck


In the summer of 1944, German V1 drones attacked London, forcing the British to spend four times more on defense. Fortunately, already on the road to defeat, Germany could not exploit its advantage. Fast forward to April of 2024. As happened in 1944, the Iranian launch against Israel of 300 drones and missiles resulted in a disproportionate defense in terms of resources expended. Israeli costs were estimated at $550 million, with the American defensive screen of F-15 aircraft, destroyers, and Patriot anti-missile systems costing at least as much. 

In war-battered Gaza, residents grow angry with Hamas

Claire Parker, Heba Farouk Mahfouz, Hazem Balousha and Hajar Harb

More than six months into the war in Gaza and with dimming hopes for a cease-fire deal, Palestinians there are growing more critical of Hamas, which some of them blame for the months-long conflict that has destroyed the territory — and their lives.

The war has displaced most of the Gaza Strip’s population, killed tens of thousands of people and pushed the enclave toward famine, its infrastructure in ruins. The Israeli military waged a punishing campaign to eliminate Hamas after the group, which has ruled Gaza for 17 years, attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing an estimated 1,200 people and abducting more than 250.

Software Backdoor is a Wakeup Call for Cybersecurity

Jeffrey Vagle

As March gave way to April, the cybersecurity community was abuzz with the news that liblzma, a component of the xz open source data compression utility, had been hijacked as a vehicle for code that could create a backdoor into computers that installed and ran the software. It’s likely that you’ve never heard of liblzma or xz, nor spend much time thinking about software compression utilities. But whether you know it or not, you may have actually installed and used xz through its inclusion in other software tools, as is the case with many obscure open source software packages, and that’s a problem for cybersecurity. 

Hacking and Healing: Nation-States, Cyber Attacks, and Healthcare Law

Nelson Hardiman, LLP

Modern warfare is no longer restricted to physical battlefields and professional military. Countries like North Korea and Russia have few qualms about using cyberspace to reach well beyond their physical borders to target private enterprise and the civil infrastructure of adversaries. This form of non-kinetic warfare can have a variety of aims. It can involve the “hoovering” of valuable data, theft of cutting-edge technologies, or the dissemination of propaganda or misinformation to influence public opinion and governmental decisions.

Welcome to the TikTok Meltdown

Charlie Warzel

Yesterday evening, the Senate passed a bill—appended to a $95 billion foreign-aid package—that would compel ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, to sell the app within about nine months or face a ban in the United States. President Joe Biden signed the bill this morning, initiating what is likely to be a rushed, chaotic, technologically and logistically complex legal process that will probably please almost no one.

Marine special operators are using fiction to envision the future


This vignette, although based in the technological advancements of today, is set in the late 2030s. It’s part of our effort at Marine Forces Special Operations Command to use fiction to peer into the future.

Fictional intelligence, or FICINT, stories, as defined by Ghost Fleet and Burn-In authors Peter Singer and August Cole, represent a way to envision future scenarios with operationally-informed fiction writing. Our command worked with both authors—known for galvanizing discussions about change within the Defense Department—to mentor current Marine Raiders in publishing three FICINT stories that have already helped drive discussion on the evolution of MARSOC into 2040.

At Army’s special-ops school, the biggest changes in a generation


Clustered around a table in a classroom festooned with Ukrainian-language posters, six Army special operations soldiers chatted in Ukrainian with a visitor this month—not without hesitation, but seemingly ready for their upcoming exams.

“I'm very proud of them; they're doing very well,” said a Ukrainian instructor at the Army’s John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School.