4 June 2024

New guidelines could hamper India's promising space industry

Ashwin Prasad

On May 3, space regulator Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) released new guidelines and procedures for space activity. These guidelines may have a detrimental effect on India’s emerging private space sector.

Space is a critical high-technology domain that contributes to everything from traffic management and crop monitoring to border security and missile defence. Following sweeping reforms in 2020, India’s private space sector has steadily grown. The number of space startups operating in India has risen from one in 2012 to nearly 200 in 2024. However, sustaining this growth will require the right policy environment to attract investments, and encourage entrepreneurs.

Gaps in guidelines

IN-SPACe’s guidelines are a roadmap for implementing India’s space policy. While the space policy was ambitious by opening the sector to private players, the guidelines introduce fresh complexities and uncertainties.

The guidelines describe the process of this authorisation for the different areas of space-based technologies such as satellite communication, rocket launch services, and earth observation. Yet key areas such as scientific missions, and positioning, navigation, and timing services, which enable GPS and air traffic control, are missing from the guidelines. For unappraised areas, companies are tasked with learning and adhering to the global best practices. These should be handled by IN-SPACe, not the private entities. This shifting of responsibility to the private sector suggests a lack of capacity on IN-SPACe’s part.

What India and the world could expect from a Modi 3.0

Gopal Nadadur

In May, Narendra Modi marked a decade as India’s prime minister. It is rare for politicians in democracies to surpass ten years in office. Voter familiarity or fatigue, along with other factors, has a way of dampening support and energizing rivals. Modi’s tenure is all the more remarkable, then, in that he remains popular, with 79 percent of Indian adults viewing him very or somewhat favorably, according to an August 2023 report by the Pew Research Center. With the world’s largest democratic exercise nearing its end on June 1—India boasts more than 950 million registered voters, six times larger than the United States’ electorate—Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is widely projected to earn enough support to remain in power for a third term.

The strength of India’s economy is one reason for the BJP’s favorable position in the polls. When Modi became prime minister in 2014, India had the tenth largest economy in the world. Today, it has the fifth. So what might the world expect from a “Modi 3.0” in terms of economic priorities if the elections pan out as expected? And would this political stability mean an end to policy uncertainty?

The administration appeared to be sprinting in the lead-up to March 16, when the election’s model code of conduct came into effect to discourage policy announcements that could influence voters before the contest. On March 10, the government signed a free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association, and on March 15 it announced a new policy to open the Indian market to the world’s leading electric vehicle companies. It also approved three new semiconductor projects, revised prices for liquefied petroleum gas, and formalized rules to implement the Citizenship Amendment Act before the March 16 deadline.

The South China Sea Risks a Military Crisis

Sarang Shidore

Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. drew a red line during his keynote address at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on Friday, saying that the death of any Philippine citizen in the country’s ongoing standoff with Beijing in the South China Sea would be “very, very close to … an act of war.” In such an event, “we would have crossed the Rubicon,” he said, responding to an audience question about U.S.-Philippine mutual defense.

A senior U.S. military official issued a similar warning in March. These comments underscore how if current trends continue, the slow boil in the disputed South China Sea is heading toward a military crisis. Washington’s actions, aimed at strengthening deterrence in the region, are failing to shift Beijing’s calculus. And Manila, while exercising agency to support its lawful maritime claim, is nevertheless being emboldened in ways that lack a clear strategy and enhance risks.

Anticipating a serious military crisis in the South China Sea is not alarmist. Incidents involving Chinese coercive actions—collisions, the use of water cannons and military-grade lasers, and swarming—are being reported with greater frequency and have even injured Philippine naval personnel. China has also become more assertive in law: A recent order provides for the detention of anyone suspected of trespassing within Beijing’s claim line in the South China Sea, which could be the prelude to a dangerous incident in the coming months.

No breakthrough, no breakdown at Shangri-La


Rising tensions between China and US allies in Asia set the tone for this year’s Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, a defense talk shop that brought together defense officials and policy experts from across the Indo-Pacific and beyond.

In his highly anticipated keynote speech, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr pulled no punches by slamming Beijing’s aggressive actions in the South China Sea.

In a barely veiled criticism of the Asian superpower, the Filipino leader highlighted its “illegal, coercive, aggressive and deceptive actions [which] continue to violate our sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction” in the hotly disputed waters.

More broadly, Marcos Jr warned of the “permanent fact” of China’s aim to achieve “determining influence over the security situation and the economic evolution of this region.”

Half a Year On, Myanmar’s Junta Appears to Have Survived Threat Posed by ‘Operation 1027’

Khandakar Tahmid Rezwan & Scott N. Romaniuk

n January, the Myanmar National Truth and Justice Party/Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNTJP/MNDAA) captured Laukkaing in northern Shan State following the surrender of troops of the Tatmadaw (junta’s) Regional Operation Command. Myanmar’s northern regions have seen major retreats by the junta since October 2023. This area includes the Shan and Karenni (Kayha) states, which share a border with China; Rakhine and Chin states, which share borders with Bangladesh and India, respectively; and the Sagaing region, which is adjacent to India. For example, the Arakan Army (AA) has taken control of crucial military bases in Rakhine State (The Daily Star, December 12, 2023). Meanwhile, Karen forces currently control 80 percent of the country’s eastern region, while Chin forces control over 70 percent of Myanmar’s western state bordering India.

Emerging developments in the initial weeks of 2024 have introduced the possibility of unpredictable scenarios, such as humanitarian crises and a dangerous power vacuum that can enable insurgent factions to escalate fighting against the junta for territorial dominance. These developments will have consequences for neighboring countries and may very well pose challenges for the region and beyond.

From Coercion to Capitulation: How China Can Take Taiwan Without a War

Dan Blumenthal, Frederick W. Kagan, Jonathan Baumel, Cindy Chen, Francis de Beixedon, Logan Rank & Alexis Turek

Executive Summary

Fear that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will invade Taiwan and draw the US into a massive war in the Pacific has for many years driven an increasing American focus on preparing for conflict with the PRC. The expansion of PRC military capabilities and Beijing’s announcement of military expansion milestones in 2027 have intensified those fears and sparked intense debates about America’s potential role in and readiness for deterring and defeating a PRC invasion.

Concerns about America’s ability to defend Taiwan are valid and important because US interests would be severely damaged by the PRC’s conquest of the island. Taiwan is strategically vital to the larger US-led coalition to contain the PRC: A US-friendly Taiwan links America’s allies in the northwestern Pacific with US partners and allies to the south, whereas a PRC-controlled Taiwan would become a springboard for further PRC aggression and would seriously compromise the US-led coalition’s ability to operate cohesively.

China turns to private hackers as it cracks down on online activists on Tiananmen Square anniversary

Christopher K. Tong

Every year ahead of the June 4 commemoration of the Tiananmen Square massacre, the Chinese government tightens online censorship to suppress domestic discussion of the event.

Critics, dissidents and international groups anticipate an uptick in cyber activity ranging from emails with malicious links to network attacks in the days and weeks leading up to the anniversary.

Much of this cyber activity by Beijing is done covertly. But a recent restructuring of China’s cyberforce and a document leak exposing the activities of Chinese tech firm i-Soon have shed some light on how Beijing goes about the business of hacking.

As a China expert and open-source researcher, I believe the latest revelations draw the curtain back on a contractor ecosystem in which government officials and commercial operators are increasingly working together. In short, Beijing is outsourcing its cyber operations to a patchwork army of private-sector hackers who offer their services out of a mix of nationalism and profit.

America’s military has the edge in space. China and Russia are in a counterspace race to disrupt it

Simone McCarthy

As Russian forces rolled over the Ukraine border in the first moments of their invasion, another, less visible onslaught was already underway – a cyberattack that crippled internet linked to a satellite communications network.

That tech offensive – conducted by Russia an hour before its ground assault began in February 2022 – aimed to disrupt Kyiv’s command and control in the pivotal early moments of the war, Western governments say.

The cyberattack, which hit modems linked to a communication satellite, had far-reaching effects – stalling wind turbines in Germany and cutting the internet for tens of thousands of people and businesses across Europe. Following the attack, Ukraine scrambled for other ways to get online.

A Dollar for Democracy

Axel de Vernou

In 1989, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) tanks rolled across Tiananmen Square and the West’s hopes of Beijing’s political liberalization. Two years later, the collapse of the Soviet Union would draw American investors and politicians to Russia, in an attempt to prop up a wobbling economic giant and steer the country toward Western-friendly reforms enabled by its then president, Boris Yeltsin. Although these two pivotal events pointed in opposite directions, Washington applied the same strategy to both China and Russia in order to integrate them into the global economy. Approximately three-and-a-half decades later, the results are in—and they are none too reassuring.

In Goodbye, Globalization: The Return of a Divided World, Elisabeth Braw traces how the West’s business and government leaders of the 1990s and early 2000s dismissed how economics-driven globalization might paper over unbridgable political differences between countries now locked in financial partnership. This first major experiment in globalization, as defined by Braw, was “an effort by all manner of politicians and business leaders to create an interconnected world” that would improve the lives of almost everyone in the world economy. However, the architects of this globalization failed to take note of the warning signs that these newfound economic ties were paradoxically accelerating the shift to a fractured global arena. Drawing from a plethora of interviews with the individuals who were first optimistic, then skeptical, and finally disillusioned by unconstrained international partnerships, Braw’s investigative work offers a timely analysis of today’s geopolitical landscape.

Setting Up an Arab Civil War

Yezid Sayigh

With the war in Gaza in a brutal stalemate, the Biden administration appears to be talking once again of the “day after.” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated publicly on May 12 that Washington has “been working for many, many weeks on developing credible plans for security, for governance, for rebuilding” in Gaza.

This time, the administration is urging Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Morocco to deploy a joint Arab peacekeeping force in the territory once combat ends, with the objective of securing Gaza until a credible Palestinian security presence can be established there. Separately, Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz has proposed setting up an “American, European, Arab, and Palestinian administration” to manage civilian affairs in Gaza until a new government can be formed, during which time Israel would maintain a degree of “security control.”

The Limits of the AI-Generated 'Eyes on Rafah' Image

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Years ago, when people still used Boolean search and I was a cub reporter, I worked with photographer Nick Ut at the Associated Press. It felt like being in the presence of one of the Greats, even though he never acted like it. We drank the same office coffee, even as I was barely out of journalism school and he had a Pulitzer Prize that was nearly three decades old. Ut, if you don’t recognize the name, took the photo of “Napalm Girl”—Kim Phuc, whom Ut captured in 1973, at 9 years old, running from a bombing in Vietnam.

Lots of people know that photo. It’s one of the most searing images to come out of the Vietnam War—one that shifted attitudes about the conflict. Ut himself wrote many years later that he knew a single photo could change the world. “I know, because I took one that did.”

Hundreds of photos have come out of the Israel-Hamas war since it began more than seven months ago. Bombed out buildings, mass funerals, damaged hospitals, more injured children. But, as of this week, there’s one that’s garnered more attention than most: “All eyes on Rafah.”

What Happens Next Now That Trump Has Been Convicted? Your Questions, Answered


Donald Trump has been convicted by a Manhattan jury on all 34 counts of falsifying business records to cover up a sex scandal ahead of the 2016 presidential election, making him the first former President ever convicted of a crime.

The presiding judge, Juan Merchan, now faces the unprecedented task of sentencing Trump, who turns 78 in June and faces three other prosecutions. His sentencing is scheduled for July 11, just days before Republicans are set to select him as their 2024 presidential nominee.

The historic verdict, which could threaten his bid to return to the White House, is expected to raise a series of legal and political questions in the coming months. Trump is all but certain to appeal, and the process could be further complicated if he wins a second presidential term.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg had charged the former President with 34 felony counts over allegations that he falsified business records to conceal a $130,000 hush-money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election.

What Are the Limits to Russia’s “Yuanization”?

Alexandra Prokopenko

Beijing’s decision to keep doing business with Moscow after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, along with the nature of Western sanctions, has saved the Kremlin from economic and political disaster. China has not only opened up its market for Russian energy exports, but also become a crucial source of imports for Russia. As a result, economic integration between the two countries has accelerated dramatically: in 2023, the yuan became the most popular currency on the Moscow Exchange, beating even the U.S. dollar.

China tells Western countries it respects their sanctions on Russia, but it operates on the principle of “everything that is not banned is allowed.” The real beneficiaries of Moscow’s “pivot to the East” have been second- and third-tier Chinese companies, particularly banks. At the level of cross-border transactions, payment systems for Russian rubles and Chinese yuan have replaced the SWIFT global bank messaging network and other traditional financial structures.

These payment systems are now capable of processing sizable transactions that include third parties. The nature of Western sanctions on Russia is pushing Beijing toward further increasing the number of yuan payments that go via this route. This system is here to stay now, even if the war in Ukraine were to end tomorrow and Russia were to rebuild ties with the West.

Preparing the U.S. Cyber Force for Extended Conflict

Jason Vogt, Kendrick Kuo, and Dan Grobarcik

Cyber operations are inevitable in future warfare. What roles they will play, however, and to what effect, are hotly contested. Over the past decade, U.S. cyber forces have engaged in numerous operations, but they have yet to be tested in high-end conflict against a technically sophisticated adversary, leaving defense planners with limited information from which to design a force structure to confront the varied character cyber conflict may take.

The Russia-Ukraine war suggests that force structure decisions related to cyber operators face temporal tradeoffs. Combat quickly begins to outpace the speed with which offensive cyber operations can be accomplished. This, in turn, reduces the capacity of highly trained cyber operators to achieve effects. As a result, sustaining these types of cyber operations likely will require more resources than were anticipated at the start of the conflict. Attrition and mass—terms now associated with Ukrainian battlefields—may then bleed into the cyber domain.

In the early phase of the conflict, Russia used elite cyber operators to conduct complex cyber operations in support of its military objectives. The pace of these operations waned, however, as Russia expended its exquisite network accesses, leaving it with limited capabilities as the war moved into its protracted state. In contrast, Ukraine’s cyber capabilities were less sophisticated at the outset, but over time a large primarily volunteer force coalesced in support of Ukraine. Preliminary insights from the Russia-Ukraine war highlight that getting force balance right may determine whether cyber forces maintain significance past the initial salvo or are relegated to the sidelines.

Taking over the Philadelphi Corridor is a knockout for Hamas, but also problematic - opinion


Good news - the IDF announced it has gained operational control of the Philadelphi Corridor. During the takeover, 20 tunnels crossing from Egypt to the Gaza Strip were located, as well as 82 underground shafts situated near the Corridor, which will be explored in the coming days.

It was also discovered that Hamas placed dozens of rockets, some of them long-range, at ranges of only 10-40 meters from the Corridor, intending to prevent Israel from attacking so close to the Egyptian border.

Some will disagree with me, but in my opinion, this is Israel's first significant strategic achievement in this war, a shame that our operational planners did not take care to achieve it at the beginning of the ground maneuver.

This is also the strategic turning point in the campaign in Gaza. It can be said, without exaggeration, that the Philadelphi Corridor was Hamas's "strategic depth," "city of refuge," and "granary," all at the same time, and the central anchor for everything we call the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip.

We Need the Pax Americana. A Multipolar World Spells Doom for the Wes

Nile Gardiner, PhD

Pax Americana, or American dominance, has declined so swiftly under Joe Biden that the world’s superpower now pays its respects to tyrants and terrorists when they die.

Hence the humiliating sight this week at the UN Security Council of U.S. officials joining in a moment of silence for Iran’s late president, Ebrahim Raisi, killed in a helicopter crash near the border with Azerbaijan. Ronald Reagan would have been appalled. This was a new low, even for the Biden administration.

Raisi carried the well-earned title of “Butcher of Tehran,” and had been a key figure in the development of Iran’s nuclear programme, as well as Iran’s vast role in fueling terrorist activity across the Middle East, including arming and funding murderous groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. He was so close to Iran’s Supreme Leader that he was expected to ultimately be his successor.

It’s starting to look like the 1930s for all the wrong reasons


Surging tariff wars, a tripling of trade barriers since 2019.

A major power conflict in the heart of Europe aided vicariously by the U.S. and NATO.

Nascent coalitions — the U.S. and fellow democracies on one side, a Eurasian entente (China-Russia-Iran-North Korea) on the other. Both loose alignments incrementally harden into economic and security blocs.

It’s not the 1930s, but it’s starting to rhyme.

While not a perfect analogy to Ukraine, the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) was a prelude to World War II, with blocs taking sides. Fascist Germany and Italy backed the nationalist military revolt, while the Soviet Union backed the Republican government along with U.S. volunteers like Ernest Hemingway and the Abraham Lincoln Batallion.

And while deglobalization is not yet of the magnitude of the 1930 Smoot-Hawley tariff act, the Biden administration’s recent wave of tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles and other goods is the latest sign that economic nationalism and protectionism around the world is surging. Trade restrictions have been growing exponentially since 2015.

Hamas, Communism, and the End of America

(This weekend I’ve selected a guest essay from Naya Lekht, a young teacher, author, and speaker. The piece speaks for itself. I do not necessarily agree with every single claim here, but I admire the courage and insight. --Ayaan)

Give a college student a slogan to chant or a poster to carry and witness the incredible force of student activism erupt. Students have always cared about changing the world. Fixing the climate and racial justice have lately been the causes célèbres; were they not those, they would be something else equally urgent-sounding. Add to this a map of the world wrapped around the framework of oppression and a blinkered fixation on decolonization, and we see clearly how the Hamas-Israel conflict – one spanning a tiny area the size of Raleigh, North Carolina – managed to capture the minds of America’s youth.

The slogan “all eyes on Rafah,” hatched earlier this week as the IDF entered the city, raises the question: Where were these eyes when 619,910 were killed in Syria; 150,000 killed in Yemen; 6 million killed in Congo since 1996; and nearly 20,000 Ukrainian civilians killed as of February 2023? And for those who want to end “systemic racism,” how many of those have their eyes glued to the African continent, where an estimated 7 million black people are enslaved today?

U.S. Strategy for the War in Gaza: Changes and Prospects

Jang Ji-Hyang

Changes in the Biden administration’s strategy for the war in Gaza

The Biden administration’s diplomatic strategy for the war between Israel and Hamas, which began with a surprise attack by the Iran-backed Islamic militant group Hamas on October 7, 2023, has undergone significant changes as the conflict has prolonged. In the early stages of the war, the United States opposed the UN Security Council’s call for a ceasefire three times, saying that Hamas must be prevented from rearming, and actively supported Israel’s right to defend itself and its goal of destroying Hamas. On October 18, President Biden visited Israel amidst missiles and rockets, expressing America’s unwavering commitment to Israel. He called on Israel to precisely eliminate Hamas members through surgical strikes to minimize harm to civilians. Although he was unable to meet Arab leaders as the four-party talks with the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, and Jordan were canceled due to the explosion at Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza, President Biden called for easing tensions in the region. The United States defended Israel and emphasized the principle of ‘hostage-release first, ceasefire later.’

Strengthening humanitarian support for Palestine, emphasizing immediate ceasefire, and promoting a ‘two-state solution’

However, in March 2024, the Biden administration’s strategy took a sharp turn toward an immediate ceasefire, a humanitarian aid operation, and a concrete postwar peace plan. The humanitarian disaster in Gaza worsened into a serious famine, and criticism from the international community grew as the number of deaths among children and women increased.

The (Im)Balancing Act: The Gaza War and the Reinvention of American Interests

Ramzy Baroud

On 25 March 2024, the unthinkable happened, when the United States abstained from a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

UNSC Resolution 2728 (2024) demanded “an immediate ceasefire for the remainder of Ramadan, respected by all parties and leading to a lasting sustainable ceasefire”.

The right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu fumed. “This withdrawal (the US abstention) hurts both the war effort and the effort to release the hostages, because it gives (the Palestinian Resistance movement) Hamas hope that international pressure will allow them to accept a cease-fire without the release of our hostages,” Netanyahu’s office said. His far-right extremist ministers were even angrier.

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir went as far as saying that “The decision of the UN Security Council proves what has been known since time immemorial: This is an anti-Semitic institution, with an anti-Semitic Secretary General, who encourages Hamas towards total victory.”

Understanding the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Push for MONUSCO’s Departure

Paul Nantulya

Within weeks of the handover of bases by the departing United Nations peacekeeping mission to the Congolese government, the posts in South Kivu province had fallen into disrepair. The illustration portends the serious troubles facing communities in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Doors and locks were smashed, power equipment stolen, and the bases were devoid of fuel, food, water, and electricity—plundered by Congolese troops. More than half of the 115 policemen assigned to occupy a base that once housed Pakistani peacekeepers have deserted. Those who remain face low morale due to lack of pay and basic provisions, begging for food from the nearby Protestant church.

The government of President Félix Tshisekedi has pushed for the complete withdrawal of the UN mission, MONUSCO, by the end of 2024. The UN’s withdrawal seems incongruent with security realities where attacks by rebels are expanding and an estimated 7 million Congolese citizens have been displaced. More than 80 percent of these live in areas protected by MONUSCO, raising the specter of a humanitarian catastrophe.

The MONUSCO mission delivers other critical services in the region like demining, community-based early warning systems, judicial capacity building, community conflict resolution, and collaborative mechanisms for civilian protection. Successive governments have failed to provide such services for decades. Local communities perceive the military, police, and intelligence forces as part of the problem—eliciting pervasive fear and distrust.

U.S. Allows Ukraine to Carry Out Limited Strikes Inside Russia With American Weapons

Gordon Lubold and Michael R. Gordon

In a significant policy reversal, the Biden administration on Thursday said for the first time that it would allow Ukrainian forces to do limited targeting with American-supplied weapons inside Russia.

The new policy will allow Ukrainian forces to use artillery and fire short-range rockets from Himars launchers against command posts, arms depots and other assets on Russian territory that are being used by Russian forces to carry out its attack on Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine. But the policy doesn’t give Ukraine permission to use longer-range ATACMS surface-to-surface missiles inside Russia.

The narrow geographic scope represents an effort by the Biden administration to help Ukraine better defend against Russia’s continuing offensive while limiting the risk that the conflict in Ukraine could escalate into a direct clash between Washington and Moscow.

Early in its invasion of Ukraine, Moscow lagged behind Kyiv in the use of low-cost explosive drones. WSJ explains how Russia is now expanding its drone arsenal, posing a major threat for Ukraine. Photo composite: Planet Labs PBC; VGTRK

Google Admits Its AI Overviews Search Feature Screwed Up

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When bizarre and misleading answers to search queries generated by Google’s new AI Overview feature went viral on social media last week, the company issued statements that generally downplayed the notion the technology had problems. Late Thursday, the company’s head of search, Liz Reid, admitted that the flubs had highlighted areas that needed improvement, writing, “We wanted to explain what happened and the steps we’ve taken.”

Reid’s post directly referenced two of the most viral, and wildly incorrect, AI Overview results. One saw Google's algorithms endorse eating rocks because doing so “can be good for you,” and the other suggested using nontoxic glue to thicken pizza sauce.

Rock eating is not a topic many people were ever writing or asking questions about online, so there aren't many sources for a search engine to draw on. According to Reid, the AI tool found an article from The Onion, a satirical website, that had been reposted by a software company, and it misinterpreted the information as factual.

Tech giants form an industry group to help develop next-gen AI chip components

Kyle Wiggers

Intel, Google, Microsoft, Meta and other tech heavyweights are establishing a new industry group, the Ultra Accelerator Link (UALink) Promoter Group, to guide the development of the components that link together AI accelerator chips in data centers.

Announced Thursday, the UALink Promoter Group — which also counts AMD (but not Arm just yet), Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Broadcom and Cisco among its members — is proposing a new industry standard to connect the AI accelerator chips found within a growing number of servers. Broadly defined, AI accelerators are chips ranging from GPUs to custom-designed solutions to speed up the training, fine-tuning and running of AI models.

“The industry needs an open standard that can be moved forward very quickly, in an open [format] that allows multiple companies to add value to the overall ecosystem,” Forrest Norrod, AMD’s GM of data center solutions, told reporters in a briefing Wednesday. “The industry needs a standard that allows innovation to proceed at a rapid clip unfettered by any single company.”

Version one of the proposed standard, UALink 1.0, will connect up to 1,024 AI accelerators — GPUs only — across a single computing “pod.” (The group defines a pod as one or several racks in a server.) UALink 1.0, based on “open standards” including AMD’s Infinity Fabric, will allow for direct loads and stores between the memory attached to AI accelerators, and generally boost speed while lowering data transfer latency compared to existing interconnect specs, according to the UALink Promoter Group.

The Cyber Arms Race Gives Way to AI Weaponization


The weaponization of cyberspace has been a legitimate concern as nation states aggressively build capabilities to project power, retaliate, and become more offensively minded. These needs not only in-house development, but they have helped spurn a global industry that supplies tools and technologies to interested buyers, giving even poorly resourced states an immediate capability in cyberspace. According to a Council of Foreign Relations tracker, between 2005-2023, 34 countries have been suspected of sponsoring cyber operations. While most of the incidents monitored consisted of cyber espionage activities, geopolitical issues have proven to be catalysts for more aggressive, disruptive, and destructive cyber attacks, whether from states or their proxies. The majority of the incidents tracked by CFR were linked to China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia, the think tank also included democratic-leaning countries like the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia into the mix as well. Regardless of the purpose or intent behind cyber operations, the point is evident: if a state possesses an offensive capability, it will leverage it to support its own objectives.

Therefore, the weaponization of cyberspace is more of a foregone conclusion than a worst-case scenario, and whose use is unlikely to be banned (as with chemical weapons) or its development limited (as with nuclear weapons). Perhaps no other technology exemplifies this than the quick adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) into cyber and traditional military operations, where it appears that governments are worried that this technology will be further enhance and bolster their capabilities at faster and more efficient rates. Indeed, recent reporting has warned that countries like China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia have been leveraging generative AI tools to include large language models into their cyber activities, according to a study by Microsoft and OpenAI. While it is unclear as to whether these governments are actively developing AI cyber tools, all indications are that this is the next evolution of cyber attack development, and one states will eagerly try to acquire to gain advantage over their adversaries.