18 June 2024

US Bill On Tibet After India’s Renaming Challenge To China – OpEd

Subir Bhaumik

A bill passed by US lawmakers, seeking to counter China’s claim of controlling Tibet since “ancient times,” has landed on President Joe Biden’s desk a week after Delhi renamed 30 places in TIbet in a tit-for-tat riposte to China’s renaming of 60 places in India’s Arunachal Pradesh state.

The bill seeks to promote a dialogue between Beijing and exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, which Delhi is also keen on.

The Indian renaming of places in Tibet on basis of ancient Sanskrit and Pali texts is seen as an aggressive move by the re-elected Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to counter Chinese claims on Arunachal Pradesh which Beijing describes as “Southern Tibet.”

But China has so far refused any dialogue with Dalai Lama, attacking him as a “wolf in lambskin” and “splittist”. And it says Tibet is an integral part of China, a position India has so far accepted and seems likely to now challenge.

India Steps Back From the Brink

Pratap Bhanu Mehta

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has won a third successive term, becoming India’s only leader since its first, Jawaharlal Nehru, to accomplish such a feat. But no crescendo of acclamation greeted Modi’s swearing in on June 10. Instead, he enters his 11th year in office much weaker than before and with his authority badly dented. His Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) failed to secure a majority in elections held from April to June, winning only 240 seats in the 543-member lower house of Parliament. 

Countering Anti-CPEC Propaganda: Ensuring Prosperity And Stability For Pakistan – OpEd

Muhammad Haroon

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) stands as a monumental investment initiative aimed at fostering regional and economic connectivity within Pakistan. Through the establishment of an extensive network of transportation, energy, and industrial infrastructure, CPEC is envisioned to elevate the region’s economic status, create millions of job opportunities, and significantly reduce poverty levels. However, despite its potential benefits, CPEC has faced a barrage of misconceptions and propaganda efforts aimed at undermining its success. This article seeks to address these misconceptions and highlight the truth about CPEC’s impact on Pakistan and the broader region.

A recurrent narrative in anti-CPEC propaganda revolves around the supposed security threats facing the project. Reports, such as the one from Diplomats on May 29 by Kanwar Khuloune, claim that CPEC is under threat from a new wave of militancy targeting Chinese workers and investors. While security concerns are legitimate, the Pakistani government and its security forces have taken robust measures to ensure the safety of all personnel involved in CPEC projects. Specialized security units, including the Special Security Division, have been deployed to protect the infrastructure and the workforce, ensuring that development continues unhindered.

The Future of Assistance for Afghanistan: A Dilemma

Daniel F. Runde, Annie Pforzheimer, Thomas Bryja, and Caroline Smutny

Afghanistan has largely disappeared from the news, but it remains at the center of one of the world’s most persistent, severe, and complex humanitarian crises. Almost three years after the Taliban retook power in August 2021, Afghanistan has achieved a moderate degree of stability but remains in a highly precarious position. Taliban leaders inherited tremendous macroeconomic problems when they assumed control of the country. Before the collapse of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, foreign aid was equivalent to 40 percent of the nation’s GDP and financed over half of the government’s $6 billion annual budget and 75 to 80 percent of total public expenditures. The sudden regime change was followed by the abrupt withdrawal of all international aid, plunging the country into economic free fall and precipitating a catastrophic humanitarian crisis.

The shock to Afghanistan’s economy was compounded by immediate diplomatic and financial isolation. Consistent with long-standing U.S. and UN sanctions against Taliban leaders, many of whom were named to key cabinet positions, the United States and Europe froze nearly $9.5 billion of Afghanistan’s external reserves, leaving the Afghan central bank, Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), deprived of assets and cut off from the global financial system. This resulted in an acute liquidity crisis, the cessation of normal financial transactions with foreign banks, and the immobilization of the country’s commercial banking sector. In order to protect some of the frozen funds from being claimed as damages by family members of September 11 victims, who had won a $7 billion default judgment against the Taliban in 2011, the Biden administration diverted $3.5 billion of these assets to establish the Swiss-based Fund for the Afghan People, or Afghan Fund, with the intention of using targeted disbursements to support Afghanistan’s macroeconomic and financial stability. As of 2024, however, the fund remains untapped.

Rare-Earth Reserves In Central Asia Sparking Intense Geopolitical Competition – Analysis

Paul Goble

The seven countries of Central Asia—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, plus Afghanistan and Mongolia—have some of the largest but mostly untapped reserves of rare-earth minerals in the world. While this has long been known, three developments over the past several years have dramatically increased the importance of these reserves (Data.gov, October 29, 2023; Usgs.gov, accessed June 13).

First, the increasing role of rare earths in modern technology and their role in the clean energy transition have brought them to the center of international attention (The Diplomat, December 15, 2023; Golosameriki.com, January 24; International Energy Agency, accessed June 13). Second, China, long the major processor and supplier of rare earths for Western firms, decided to reduce or even cut off such supplies in the wake of Moscow’s expanded invasion of Ukraine and the Western sanctions that followed. That decision has forced the West to look for alternative sources, with a focus on Central Asia (Asia Times, March 15, 2023; ASIA-Plus, April 11). Third, the Central Asian countries themselves have seen the West’s involvement in this sector as key to their hopes of further reducing Russian control while preventing Beijing from replacing Moscow as the paramount power in the region (Euractiv, November 18, 2022; The Times of Central Asia, March 14).

How China’s Cyber Ecosystem Feeds Off Its Superstar Hackers

Tom Uren

A new report explores how effectively the Chinese state leverages civilian talent for state-sponsored cyber operations.

From Vegas to Chengdu,” by Eugenio Benincasa from the Center for Security Studies at ETH Zurich, focuses on the links between Chinese hacking contests and bug bounties and the country’s cyber espionage programs. Interestingly, it finds that People’s Republic of China (PRC) vulnerability discovery efforts in recent years depend highly on just “a handful” of Chinese researchers.

The report pulls together information made public over the past several years to comprehensively summarize evidence the PRC funnels vulnerability research into state-sponsored espionage efforts.

Shortly after 2014, Chinese security researchers began dominating international hacking competitions.

‘Gentleman’s Agreement’ In The South China Sea: Dispute Management Meets Domestic Politics – Analysis

Lucio Blanco Pitlo III

The polemics over a so-called “gentleman’s agreement” between the Philippines and China to manage a bitter row over the South China Sea may confound future diplomatic efforts to handle the spat. China sees Philippine commitment as fleeting, with abrupt reversals from earlier understandings not startling and discreet deals fair game to domestic partisan politics. Manila dismisses Beijing’s revelations as part of its false narratives meant to sow discord and confusion. Unreliability breeds skepticism. Divulging details of supposed behind-the-scenes negotiations is reprehensible.

Despite both sides’ initial hope and interest, maritime tensions hijacked relations. On the sidelines of last year’s APEC Summit in San Francisco, Presidents Ferdinand Marcos and Xi Jinping agreed that the sea row should not define bilateral ties. However, later events showed how maritime issues cause relations to deteriorate. Philippine Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro and National Security Adviser Eduardo Año called for the expulsion of Chinese embassy officials responsible for recording a supposed phone conversation between a Chinese diplomat and a Filipino military official.

Army sees combo of kinetic, non-kinetic capabilities as essential to combating China’s military mass


Acombination of kinetic and non-kinetic capabilities will be critical for the U.S. Army to address the sheer mass that China and its military possess relative to the United States, according to a top acquisition official.

This has been one of the lessons from Ukraine’s plight against Russia: that while conventional warfare tools, like artillery, still matter, there must be non-kinetic companions to these weapons.

“We need a combination of precision and accuracy and we need a combination of conventional, because what are the other things that Russia is doing in that war? They’re very good at jamming,” Young Bang, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology, said during a presentation at the Potomac Officers Club’s Army Summit on Thursday.

In U.S. military parlance, the term “kinetic” generally refers to traditional weapons that explode, like missiles, while “non-kinetic” refers to capabilities like electronic warfare, cyber and others.

US Army, Navy reduce dependence on China for ‘critical technology’


Last year, the U.S. Navy reduced the number of Chinese suppliers in its “critical technologies” supply chains by 40 percent. The Army achieved a 17 percent reduction from 2022 to 2023. But the Air Force and defense agencies increased their dependence on China, according to a new report by a government-data analysis company.

“When we're working with these program offices on a day-to-day basis, it remains just problem after problem after problem. And I think the good-news story is that…the department, in places, in certain spots, is really starting to become proactive about managing their supply chains,” Tara Murphy Dougherty, Govini’s chief executive officer, told reporters Wednesday, ahead of the report’s release.

The report, built with Govini’s Ark data-analytics platform, looked at Pentagon purchases of 15 so-called critical technologies: biotechnologies, data interfaces, nuclear modernization, space, communications and networks, engines, advanced manufacturing, robotics and autonomy, advanced engineering materials, AI and machine learning, hypersonics, clean energy and storage, microelectronics, advanced computing, and directed energy.

Adapting Security: The Intersection of Turkiye’s Foreign Policy and Defence Industrialisation

Sıtkı Egeli, Serhat Güvenç, Çağlar Kurç & Arda Mevlütoğlu

Following decades of investment and reform, Turkiye’s defence industry is emerging as a serious player in international defence markets. The path to its success, however, has not been straightforward. As an emerging power, Turkiye has had to balance its desire for strategic autonomy against a multitude of other factors, includ­ing relations with the United States, other NATO allies and the European Union. Moreover, just as domestic leaders have left their individual marks on Turkiye’s foreign policy, they have also influenced the country’s defence-industrial policies.

Ankara’s defence interests have both reflected the international political system and been used by national decision-makers to help navigate international politics. For example, alignment with the US led to an influx of Western defence equipment during the early Cold War. Though this allowed the Turkish Armed Forces to rapidly modernise, the glut of equipment retarded the development of the country’s nascent arms industry. Restrictions imposed on the use of US-supplied weapons during the Cyprus Crisis (1963–64) exposed the limits of US alignment. Also important have been the numerous arms embargoes (both official and unofficial) by allied states, which have perpetuated a sense of injustice within Turkiye and driven the country’s defence-industrial policies.

As the Turkish economy began to liberalise in the 1980s, Turkiye’s defence industry adapted by pursuing joint ventures with Western firms. In exchange for access to Turkish markets, Western companies brought in new technologies and capital to co-manufacture their products in Turkiye. By the early 1990s, the collapse of the Soviet Union also allowed Turkiye to establish good relations with the newly formed Russian Federation. At the same time, membership in the EU became a pivotal theme in Turkiye’s post-Cold War foreign-policy trajectory.

A Reimagined G7

Victor Cha and John J. Hamre

Our traditional institutions of global governance are floundering. The UN Security Council is stymied by Russian and Chinese vetoes. The G20 and World Trade Organization (now up to 160 members) are paralyzed by a lack of consensus. Meanwhile, two bloody wars in Ukraine and Gaza, cohesion among a bloc of autocratic powers, and the renewal of Cold War–like geopolitical rivalries with China have precipitated a world in crisis. At the same time, profound advances in the use of artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, resilient supply chains, and clean development demand new standards and norms, as well as sustained cooperative action.

The G7 leaders must converge in Italy this week with the recognition that their grouping remains the only viable institution of global governance going forward. The G7 must transform from an old boys’ club of financiers chatting about monetary policy to a coalition of action-oriented, like-minded partners inspired to sustain the rules-based international order by addressing issues ranging from Ukraine to digital security. To do this, G7 leaders must consider serious reforms that enhance the group’s capabilities, effectiveness, and legitimacy.

Will Hamas Be Dislodged From Gaza? – OpEd

Neville Teller

It now seems clear that on October 7 Hamas, no doubt urged on by Iran, bit off a good deal more than it could chew.

Its leaders in Gaza (Yahya Sinwar and Mohammed Deif), together with its leaders-in-exile living in luxury in Qatar (Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Meshaal), may have been led by Iran to expect a widespread uprising of the Arab world in support of their massive killing spree in Israel. They may have envisaged their invasion advancing into the country supported by uprisings in the West Bank, an invasion by Hezbollah in the north, perhaps joined by Syrian troops up in the Golan, irregular Jordanian fighters in the east and even Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood militias from the west. Perhaps Iran already had in mind, and promised them, a crushing blow on Israel by launching a direct aerial attack, reversing its long-standing policy of using only proxies in its anti-Israel operations.

This scenario, mouth-wateringly tempting for Hamas, simply failed to materialize. Action of some sort did manifest itself, but on nothing like the scale or with the coordination that would have been politically or militarily meaningful.

Battles in the Black Sea Changing the Character of Naval Warfare, Experts Say


A frenzy of Ukrainian-designed and –built high-speed, bomb-laden Magura V5 unmanned surface drones added an explosive exclamation point to the widespread frustrations in and with Russia’s Black Sea Fleet when they sank Caesar Kunikov, a landing ship most likely carrying needed ammunition to the southern fight earlier this year.

As many as 10 Magura V5s participated in the night-time 20-minute sea-fight off the southern tip of the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula. During the March attack, two drones carrying at least 400 pounds of explosives each were maneuvered to hit and sink the landing ship transport, which usually carries a crew of 60. The Russians are reported to have destroyed four of the attackers.

The 18-foot-long Maguras are routinely described as a couple of jet skies loaded with explosives. But unmanned aerial and maritime systems’ successes in destroying high-value targets at low-cost to their operators are changing the character of naval warfare.

Leo Daugherty, historian with the Army’s Cadet Command Fort Knox, Ky., told USNI News that the February sinking and others that followed meant Moscow has lost about one-third of its fleet in the Black Sea since the war began in February 2022. Before the invasion, it numbered 40 surface warships (from combatants such as cruisers to corvettes to mine warfare vessels and auxiliaries) and seven submarines.

Artillery goes trucking to survive drones swarming the battlefield

Rudy Ruitenberg

French artillery engineers had a simple idea: Take a big gun, mount it on a truck, and you’ve got self-propelled artillery at relatively little cost. The wheeled guns have proved so effective on the Ukrainian battlefield that Western armies are taking a fresh look at the concept.

The war in Ukraine has put long-range fires front and center at the Eurosatory defense show that kicks off in Paris, France, on June 17, said Charles Beaudouin, the retired French general who heads the event. As drones and rapid counter-battery fire have put a premium on artillery mobility for survival, he expects KNDS France’s truck-mounted Caesar howitzer to be one of the stars of the show.

“The audacity of the wheeled cannon is the maximum efficiency,” Beaudouin told Defense News. “You sacrifice nothing in terms of firepower, rate of fire, precision and range, and you’ve got a truck, armored all the same, but which is able to be nimble, which is very stealthy.”

Russian jamming leaves some high-tech U.S. weapons ineffective in Ukraine

Isabelle Khurshudyan and Alex Horton

Many U.S.-made satellite-guided munitions in Ukraine have failed to withstand Russian jamming technology, prompting Kyiv to stop using certain types of Western-provided armaments after effectiveness rates plummeted, according to senior Ukrainian military officials and confidential internal Ukrainian assessments obtained by The Washington Post.

Russia’s jamming of the guidance systems of modern Western weapons, including Excalibur GPS-guided artillery shells and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, which can fire some U.S.-made rockets with a range of up to 50 miles, has eroded Ukraine’s ability to defend its territory and has left officials in Kyiv urgently seeking help from the Pentagon to obtain upgrades from arms manufacturers.

Russia’s ability to combat the high-tech munitions has far-reaching implications for Ukraine and its Western supporters — potentially providing a blueprint for adversaries such as China and Iran — and it is a key reason Moscow’s forces have regained the initiative and are advancing on the battlefield.

'Worrying' Population Declines Are Actually A Hopeful Sign | Opinion

Kirsten Stade

Human population is in the news, but not for the reasons we are used to. At one time, our growing population was seen as central to wildlife extinctions, resource depletion, pollution and environmental destruction. But today, we are more likely to hear that there are too few of us, not too many. As women across the world have gained greater reproductive choice, birth rates have declined.

This is a positive development in large part due to a decline in teen pregnancy, but you would never know it from news coverage of the topic that ranges from anxious to apocalyptic. The birth rate "crisis," we are told, will have dire consequences for our economy and especially for seniors. Lost in the conversation are the many positive aspects of an aging society, which is the result of people living healthier and longer lives, and common-sense realities like reduced needs for infrastructure and lower ecological impacts. Also lost is the fact that our population still grows by 80 million people every year, from places in the world where women and girls lack reproductive choice and face powerful pronatalist pressures, whether to carry on a family line, grow a religious denomination, or fuel economic growth with more consumers and cheap labor.

And the consequences are dire. Among them is global warming, which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns is driven by both population and economic growth. In fact, increased emissions from population growthhave canceled more than three quarters of the emissions saved through energy efficiency and renewables over the past three decades.

The U.S. Increases the Risk of War With Russia

Daniel L. Davis

Last week, U.S. Senator J.D. Vance took to X to warn that when Biden authorized Ukraine to use U.S. weapons to strike targets in Russia, he believes, “the risk of nuclear war is (now) higher now than at any point in my lifetime. Biden is sleepwalking into World War 3.”

He’s not wrong.

Washington is on a course that is increasing the risk of war with Russia, whether by means of mistake, miscalculation, or misinterpretation.

Accepting risk is sometimes warranted. In this situation, however, the U.S. is carelessly flirting with the risk of nuclear war, and there is zero potential benefit for our legitimate interests.

Even before the Russia-Ukraine War started, there were many analysts worried about the potential of America’s support for Ukraine getting the U.S. drawn into a direct conflict with Russia. There were many categories of support even some supporters of Kyiv worried might prove to be “red lines” for Moscow and result in an expansion of the war. Late in 2021, NATO directly providing any weapons were suspected of crossing Putin’s red lines.

G7 Can’t Beat Russia on the Cheap

Timothy Ash

After months of prevarication and foot-dragging over the utilization of immobilized Russian assets — mostly by old-guard EU states — the G7 finally appeared to have agreed to a new $50bn financing facility for Ukraine on June 13, the Enhanced Revenue Acceleration Loan (ERAL.)

Note that this latest agreement comes after more than 26 months after more than $300bn in Central Bank of Russia (CBR) assets were frozen in Western jurisdictions.

Since then, European bureaucrats, Russian lobbyists, and Western business interests have fought tooth and nail to ring-fence these assets so that they cannot be used to fund Ukraine’s defense and post-war reconstruction.

Is Israeli-Saudi normalization end or means?


The path to a peace treaty between Israel and Saudi Arabia is fraught with prerequisites unrelated to Israel or peace.

Quoting Biden officials, the Wall Street Journal reported that Israel must first help rally US Senate support for an American-Saudi defense treaty that ensures Saudi security and American interests — including distancing Riyadh from Beijing.Next, Israel must concede territory for Palestinian self-determination even before Hamas, which pledges to annihilate the Jewish state, is eradicated. Only then will Saudi Arabia normalize ties with Israel – and, even then, solely on its own behalf, not representing the Arab League or the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

In January 2023, when Saudi Arabia first floated the idea of bilateral peace with Israel regardless of the Palestinian track, Riyadh did so in line with a shift in Riyadh’s foreign policy that had started with the accession of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman (MBS) in 2016. Riyadh started prioritizing “Saudi First” over leadership in the Arab and Muslim worlds.

Is the U.K. Turning Realist on Foreign Policy?

Sumantra Maitra

The British debate about an intervention in the American Civil War is fascinating because it skewers every political theory one might be attached to. Consider, for example, that the hero of liberalism, William Gladstone, was interested in supporting the Confederacy and thought southern independence was a foregone conclusion. Charles Dickens, seeing the Lancashire Cotton Famine, was convinced that the war was primarily due to Northern protectionism, a sentiment also somewhat shared by the Economist, which argued (bizarrely, one might add) that the Union victory would continue the institution of slavery, something most British citizens opposed. Incidentally, the people who shared both kinship and class with the landed gentry of the South were the British aristocracy and Tory landowners back in England; most of them had sympathies for their cousins. Robert E. Lee was considered the last true Englishman in America.

But they were also opposed to any foreign wars and intervention. The New York Times, explaining Lord Palmerston’s neutrality, wrote, “England having no control over the domestic politics of other nations can acknowledge whatever form of Government they please to set up. To refuse to do so, would involve her in endless wars, and ruinous commercial embarrassments.”

Ultimately, with the start of the war, Great Britain did what classical Tory realpolitik dictated: a “declaration of neutrality” in the American Civil War, which immediately bestowed the status of equal belligerents between the Union and the Confederacy while withholding recognized nationhood on the south. This allowed individual Englishmen to take sides in a private capacity with whichever cause they favored, including those who refused to serve Confederates for their association to slavery, and those who ran blockades smuggling goods in and out of the Southern ports blockaded by Union troops. It was a policy which disappointed both sides in the civil war. It was also a perfect strategy.

US pledges to protect Ukraine’s critical infrastructure from cyberattacks in ‘most powerful’ security deal

Daryna Antoniuk

Ukraine has signed a long-anticipated security agreement with the U.S. aimed at bolstering Kyiv's defenses against Russian invaders, including in cyberspace.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy described the new deal as “the most powerful” the country has ever signed.

The agreement promises to provide humanitarian, military, and cyber support to Kyiv for the next decade. It is also “a key part of Ukraine’s bridge to NATO membership,” according to a statement by the White House on Thursday.

Ukraine has already signed similar bilateral deals with 17 countries, including the U.K., Germany, France, Canada, and Japan, and is preparing to sign 10 more, according to Zelensky.

On writing strategies

With a new government will come new strategies. Every new minister with new responsibilities will wish to make their mark by showing how they can bring new thinking to policy areas that the previous government had found uninteresting or intractable and had allowed to drift. Sometimes these will be internal exercises but if intended for external consumption they will need to be published in an attractive format, to be rolled out at a media event or presented to parliament as providing a guide to government action over the coming years. Outside bodies will seek to influence these strategies by offering their own versions, and then, once a new government strategy has been promulgated, affected organisations will ponder their meaning and start to respond.

This new strategy production will give a boost to an activity that is always underway to some degree, in and out of government. As few speak up for complacency and continuity, there is a constant demand for radicalism, reform, and reappraisal. Change is considered good. Nobody in charge of any organisation wishes it to be thought that have run out of ideas or that they only move forward in ways that are largely reactive and improvised, essentially making things up as they go along, though that is what they may be doing. Carry on this way and critics will soon warn of policy drift, pointing to gathering storm clouds and lights flashing amber that may soon turn to red.

Governments therefore have any number of strategy documents in circulation at any time, dealing with individual departments (‘a strategy for health’), the implications of new technologies (‘a strategy for AI’) or a dangerous international environment (‘a strategy for national security’). Big companies publish them to explain reorganizations or new market initiatives. Startups need to convey their potential to appeal to new investors. Universities must show how they will manage the twin challenges of teaching and research. Charities need them to explain how they will raise funds and disburse them responsibly.

Innovation Lightbulb: Private Investment in Quantum Technology

Hideki Tomoshige

The quantum information science and technology (QIST) field is transitioning from a focus on theoretical research to a burgeoning industry with practical market applications, with the potential to significantly advance frontiers in computing, green energy, medical research, and national security. A variety of tech companies are already positioning themselves to harness quantum technologies, acting as early adopters and developing initial use cases.

However, despite some recent growth, these efforts to expand the industry remain limited. Private sector investment in quantum technology, which began modestly at $100 million in 2014, surged to $2.4 billion in 2021 as confidence in the technology grew. These investments have since declined, dropping to $1.3 billion in 2023 and further to $1.1 billion in 2024. Globally, investments decreased by 50 percent, from $2.3 billion in 2022 to about $1.3 billion in 2023. The U.S. experienced an 80 percent decline, while the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region saw a 17 percent drop. In contrast, investments in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa saw a modest increase of 3 percent. These overall declines can be attributed to various factors, including economic recessions, market adjustments, geopolitical risks, and shifts in investment strategies.

Pentagon Deal With Musk’s Starlink in Ukraine Extended Six Months for $14 Million

Anthony Capaccio

The Pentagon renewed a contract with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to provide Starlink internet services in Ukraine for another six months, a fresh sign that the two sides have moved past a dispute over how the terminals were being used in the conflict zone.

US Space Force has extended a contract with SpaceX until Nov. 30 at a cost of $14.1 million, Space Systems Command spokeswoman Bonnie Poindexter said in a statement. “The contract provides access to the Starlink constellation, hardware, and customer support under negotiated terms and conditions,” she said.

US military officials have praised the portable Starlink terminals, which provide high-speed broadband internet connections for critical military communications as well as the civilian population, since Russia’s February 2022 invasion. Ukraine said later that year that it had received 10,000 Starlink terminals.

Microsoft’s work to strengthen cybersecurity protection

Brad Smith

Chairman Green, Ranking Member Thompson, and Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear to discuss Microsoft’s commitment and ongoing work to strengthen cybersecurity protection. As you know, this work comes in part in response to the Cyber Safety Review Board’s (CSRB) report on the Microsoft Exchange Online cyber intrusion in 2023 by malicious actors referred to as Storm-0558, affiliated with the People’s Republic of China.

Let me first note my appreciation for the critical role this Committee plays in protecting the homeland security of the United States. In the world today, America’s homeland cannot be secured without protecting the cyber domain. Cybersecurity has become a collective duty that spans both the public and private sectors. Given this Committee’s responsibilities, I appreciate the importance of your oversight not only of the executive branch, but of tech companies.

Before I say anything else, I think it’s especially important for me to say that Microsoft accepts responsibility for each and every one of the issues cited in the CSRB’s report. Without equivocation or hesitation. And without any sense of defensiveness. But rather with a complete commitment to address every recommendation and use this report as an opportunity and foundation to strengthen our cybersecurity protection across the board.