28 June 2024

Lessons Unlearned? India’s Acquisition Of Rafale Raises Specter Of Mirage 2000 Challenges – Analysis

Girish Linganna

A team from Qatar visited India and met Indian Air Force (IAF) officials to discuss buying 12 used Mirage 2000 fighter jets from France. Reports suggest that the used jets are in good condition, with at least 30% of their airframe life remaining.

The IAF has been using Mirage 2000 jets since they were bought from France in the mid-to-late-1980s. These jets played a vital role in the Kargil War, destroying Pakistani supply centres with laser-guided bombs. They were also used in the Balakot air strikes to destroy a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) training centre in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The engines of the Qatari jets are the same as those in the IAF’s Mirages, which will make maintenance simpler. The price for the 12 jets is set at Rs 5,000 crore. Experts say this is quite expensive, almost the same as buying a new Tejas Mk-1A fighter jet, even though the Tejas comes with more advanced features.

The Qatari jets are reportedly the Mirage 2000 Dash 1 model, while the IAF uses the more advanced Dash-2 version. This makes the Qatari jets less advanced than those of the IAF. To make the deal more attractive, Qatar is also including some Mica air-to-air missiles with the jets.

Sri Lanka Reaches Debt Restructuring Deal With Bilateral Creditors, Including China and India

Bharatha Mallawarachi

Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe announced a debt restructuring deal with countries including India, France, Japan, and China in a televised address to the nation Wednesday. The agreement marks a key step in the country’s economic recovery after defaulting on debt repayment in 2022.

Sri Lanka is under an International Monetary Fund bailout program and the debt treatment deal is expected to reopen the doors to bilateral transactions and the resumption of foreign projects that stalled when the island nation defaulted.

“This morning in Paris, Sri Lanka reached a final agreement with our official bilateral creditors. Similarly, we signed another agreement with China’s Exim Bank today in Beijing. … Sri Lanka won,” Wickremesinghe said.

Sri Lanka declared bankruptcy in April 2022 and suspended repayments on some $83 billion in domestic and foreign loans amid a severe foreign exchange crisis that led to a severe shortage of essentials such as food, medicine, fuel, and cooking gas, and hours-long power cuts.

Taliban And The National Resistance Front Of Afghanistan – Analysis

Luke Coffey

Since the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan, most of the international focus has been on the worsening humanitarian situation in the country. Millions of Afghans live in poverty and the economic situation remains bleak.

This month, Afghanistan also reached a grim milestone: It has been more than 1,000 days since young girls were able to attend school.

But there is another story that offers a glimmer of hope for the country and deserves more attention: the activities of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan.

The NRF is the main, nonextremist, armed opposition group the Taliban faces. Its leader is Ahmad Massoud, the son of the late Ahmad Shah Massoud, who led resistance efforts against the Soviets and Taliban in the 1980s and 1990s.

Counterterrorism in Af-Pak: Can the US ‘Do More’?

Bantirani Patro

Last month, the U.S. State Department issued a joint statement on the Pakistan-U.S. Counterterrorism Dialogue, held on May 10. The statement highlighted the cooperation between the two sides “in addressing the most pressing challenges to regional and global security, including Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and ISIS-Khorasan,” also known as the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP). The dialogue was co-chaired by Ambassador Elizabeth Richard, representing the U.S. side as the State Department’s Coordinator for Counterterrorism, and Ambassador Syed Haider Shah, who serves as Pakistan’s Additional Foreign Secretary at the United Nations.

In 2023, the dialogue was held from March 6-7 in Islamabad, where both sides reaffirmed their commitment to enhancing Pakistan’s counterterrorism capacity. The latest iteration commenced amid many vicissitudes in Pakistan’s terrorism landscape, meriting closer study.

Preceding the 2024 Counteterrorism Dialogue, the U.S. Central Command chief, General Michael Erik Kurilla, visited Pakistan from May 7 to 9, during which he traveled to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan to discuss the counterterrorism operations along the frontier areas.

Myanmar: Junta Military Preparations Point To Brutal Next Phase In Conflict – Analysis

Zachary Abuza

Myanmar’s junta expected to consolidate power within a few days of their Feb. 1, 2021 coup d’etat. Nearly three-and-a-half years on, they continue to lose territory. They never had any legitimacy to lose.

The military have always acted as if time was on their side. But that’s no longer the case, and there are signs that the junta is moving with urgency – in ways that will bring even more suffering and indiscriminate killing upon the majority Bamar heartland.

First, the churn of senior officers has intensified as junta chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing replaces under-performing officers with eager and ambitious sycophants. In the latest reshuffle, some 30 officers were reassigned; five major generals were relieved of their command.

Min Aung Hlaing remains in control and Soe Win, rumored to have been injured by an opposition drone strike, is back. If there is opposition within the ruling State Administrative Council, the formal name for the military junta, to their leadership, it has not made itself manifest.

What Xi Jinping Tells His Military About Taiwan

Robert Rust

UCS published that speech along with a translation and an analysis showing that it contains no evidence suggesting that Xi thinks about nuclear weapons differently than his predecessors.

We have also obtained a book of Xi’s speeches on Chinese military affairs from 2017 to 2019, intended for internal circulation, and we will be publishing a series of blogs analyzing what Xi has to say about various military topics. The first of these blogs analyzes his language on Taiwan in speeches made on November 3rd, 2017 and December 22nd, 2017.
The status of the US-China-Taiwan triangle

As China’s military modernization rolls along toward the goal of building a “world-class” military by 2049, US officials increasingly believe that Chinese President Xi Jinping has a set timeline for a military operation. However, analysis of Xi’s speeches to his military shows no concrete timeline for an invasion, only exhortations for combat readiness and warnings about external interference in the cross-Strait status quo.

On May 20th, the Republic of China inaugurated its new president Lai Ching-te, ushering in the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) third consecutive presidential term. Storm clouds have been brewing over the Taiwan Strait since well before the January election. After then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August 2022, China has conducted a series of military exercises around the island.

Middle-Power Equities in a Cross-Strait Conflict

Rafiq Dossani, Cortez A. Cooper III, Joan Chang


China and Taiwan have had the potential for conflict in the Taiwan Strait for a long time. Such a conflict could have military, political, and socioeconomic consequences that reverberate across Asia and the world (The Economist, 2021; Grant, 2019). One reason that such a conflict could have such broad consequences is the geopolitical rivalry between China and the United States. The initiation of any armed conflict by China against Taiwan would likely trigger stringent economic sanctions on China by the United States. This response could be followed by direct U.S. involvement in the conflict.

U.S. sanctions, which are known for their extensive global reach and efficacy, make the aftermath of an invasion an unappealing prospect for China, whose economy relies heavily on global trade and investment. Nevertheless, because the unification of Taiwan with mainland China is a core interest for China, an extreme provocation, such as a declaration of independence by Taiwan’s government, could cause conflict.1 Lesser provocations, such as stringent U.S. controls on China’s imports of technology from Taiwan or the continued arming of Taiwan by the United States, could also trigger tensions that could escalate into a conflict that consequently involves the United States.2 There is also the real possibility of unintended escalation from gray-zone activities to full-scale war.3

‘Incompetence’: Pentagon Doesn’t Know How Much Money It Sent To Chinese Entities For Risky Virus Research


The Department of Defense (DOD) does not know how much money it directly or indirectly sent to Chinese entities to conduct research on viruses with pandemic potential, according to a new report by the DOD’s Office of Inspector General (OIG).
The OIG’s report found that DOD has supplied Chinese entities — whether directly or indirectly via subgrants — with taxpayer cash to research pathogens and the enhancement thereof, but the exact figure is unknown because of “limitations” in the DOD’s internal tracking system. Government funding for such research in China has come under scrutiny since the coronavirus pandemic, which multiple government entities believe started when an engineered virus leaked from a Chinese laboratory that was hosting U.S. government-backed gain-of-function research.

“Incompetence, absurdity, insanity; it’s hard to find a word that adequately describes this. Of all the things that DOD tracks, funds for dangerous research that could find their way to a hostile regime should be at the top of the list of those they keep close tabs on,” Michael Chamberlain, director of Protect the Public’s Trust, told the Daily Caller News Foundation regarding the OIG report’s findings. “It makes you wonder if they really know where all our nuclear warheads are. The military is one of the few areas of government in which the public still maintains a modicum of trust, but, sadly, it looks like they are working hard to squander even that.”

We Can't Sit Back and Watch China Shock 2.0 | Opinion

Raja Krishnamoorthi

World leaders are faced with a strategic choice that will define global prosperity and our national security for a generation. As China faces an economic slowdown at home, Beijing is doubling down on its drive to be the world's manufacturing superpower and is exporting the resulting overcapacity at artificially low prices. Surges of cheap Chinese exports are poised to devastate market-constrained producers in the United States and around the world.

China's leaders are betting that world leaders will fail to mount a unified response and hoping that they can run the same playbook that has worked for them in the past. We are at a pivotal moment in which China depends on the rest of the world capitulating to its predatory practices to avoid making long-overdue reforms. But once this surge of cheap Chinese products makes its way to our markets, it has the potential to destroy production capacity here in the United States and around the world, and thereby make all of us more dependent on China for our daily needs for a generation to come.

If we don't take decisive action, we risk repeating the "China Shock" that reverberated across the United States after China joined the World Trade Organization. This shock had a devastating impact on the U.S. industrial base, leading to hollowing out U.S. manufacturing facilities across the country and the communities that supported them in every state. According to some estimates, imbalances in our trade relationship with China has led to the loss of more than 3.7 million American jobs, with three-quarters of those jobs in manufacturing. In my home state of Illinois, more than 160,000 jobs were lost, with my district losing more than 15,000 jobs, making it one of the most heavily impacted districts in one of the most heavily impacted states in the country. We cannot let this happen again on our watch.

Hamas uses Chinese HJ-8L missile against Israeli armored vehicle

Dylan Malyasov

The attack occurred near the city of Rafah in southern Gaza.

The video depicts the Namer being struck on its side by the missile, resulting in a fire. A Caterpillar 966G wheeled tractor is then seen extinguishing the blaze with sand. The presence of the Chinese ATGM in Hamas’s arsenal raises questions about its acquisition.

The HJ-8, or Hongjian-8, is a second-generation, tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided missile system. Originally deployed by the People’s Liberation Army in the late 1980s, it is comparable to the US BGM-71 TOW and the Franco-German MILAN/Euromissile HOT systems. The HJ-8 has seen use in conflicts across Yugoslavia, Sudan, and Sri Lanka.'

Designed with a HEAT (High-Explosive Anti-Tank) warhead, the HJ-8 integrates elements from several Western ATGM systems. Analysts suggest the tripod is derived from the BGM-71 TOW, the tracker-control unit from the MILAN, and the missile from the UK Swingfire.

The Israeli military is yet to comment on the incident.

Joe Biden's Failed Strategy Against the Houthi Threat in the Red Sea

Michael Rubin

With their increasing attacks on shipping passing through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait and the Red Sea, the Houthis, an Iranian-backed tribal group from the Saada region of Yemen who seized power a decade ago, continue to endanger freedom of navigation and trade. The Biden administration initially used the U.S. Navy to counter the threat, but this was, at best, whack-a-mole and, at worst, military virtue signaling that wasted tremendous resources for little result. The Biden administration has quietly acknowledged failure by withdrawing the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group from the Red Sea to the eastern Mediterranean should fighting escalate between Israel and Hezbollah.

From the very beginning, a far better military strategy to counter the Houthi threat might have been to use the Somaliland airport at Berbera to run operations to counter Houthi threats and protect shipping. While it takes 4,000 men to crew an aircraft carrier, it takes only four to crew an Osprey or two to fly and fight in an F-16. President Joe Biden’s team, however, often downplays military strategies in favor of the belief that diplomacy alone can end threats posed by ideological and aggressive adversaries.

Here, too, though, a lack of creativity and attention to local dynamics lead the White House and State Department to miss opportunities to end the Houthi threat and bring stability and prosperity to the Yemeni people.

War Between Israel and Iran Is Inevitable

Seth Cropsey

Israel faces a strategic choice with regard to Iran—war now or war later. The political conditions for war now are poor. The strategic conditions later will only grow worse.

Iran’s goal is to destroy Israel as a uniquely Jewish state through a strategy of attrition. The mullahs hope to bind Israel in a series of conflicts and pressure it from multiple angles while using diplomacy and media manipulation to prolong the conflict. Tehran understands the potency of Israel’s military, which has adapted well to difficult urban and subterranean combat conditions in Gaza. The Israel Defense Forces field formidable air, artillery and armored units that, if unleashed in the north, would threaten the existence of Hezbollah, Iran’s most capable proxy. The Iranian deterrence strategy couples pressure on the U.S. with the threat of large-scale rocket and missile attacks against critical Israeli infrastructure.

Hamas is the most apparent element of Iran’s strategy. Iran wants the terrorist organization not only to maintain control of Gaza but to catapult itself into control of the Palestinian movement. The best way to do that is to compel the Israelis to accept a cosmetically appealing “peace agreement” involving the Arab states that allows Hamas to integrate into the Palestinian Authority and co-opt its necrotic rival, Fatah. The West Bank could then become another axis of pressure on Israel.

Russia's Ambassador Outlines Plan to Overthrow US-Led World Order

Tom O'Connor

Russia's top diplomat in the United States outlined to Newsweek the contents and core tenets of the Kremlin's bid to reshape the global order in a way that undermines Washington's international influence.

The remarks came as President Joe Biden's administration has sought to further tighten ties abroad in an attempt to isolate Moscow as it continues to wage war in neighboring Ukraine. With divisive debates playing out around the world over Europe's most devastating conflict in decades, Russian President Vladimir Putin detailed a path to ending the war during a wide-ranging speech last week at a gathering of senior diplomatic officials.

The proposals were roundly rejected by Kyiv and its international backers. But Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov argued that the West missed a key message that focused on upending the post-Cold War balance of power.

U.S. Navy Readies New Compact Agile Interceptor For Flight Tests

Carter Johnston

Amid growing concerns of missile inventory size and VLS cell count, the U.S. Navy is set to test a new surface-launched missile interceptor designed to maximize capacity in their Mark 41 VLS cells. The effort comes as production of SM-6 ramps up into the late 2020s to match inventory requirements, alongside increased production of RIM-162 ESSM Block II.

The Compact Agile Interceptor aims to pack multiple small diameter missiles into one Mark 41 VLS cell while keeping high-end performance capability to intercept ‘complex raids’ of hypersonic threats. The addition of a compact interceptor would add a third missile to the U.S. Navy’s inventory capable of dealing with hypersonic threats, coming in behind the 13.5 inch (0.34 m) SM-6 Dual I/II and 21-inch (0.53 m) SM-6 Block IB.

A leading contender for the CAI program–and a missile that has already been tested in a virtualized Aegis environment–is Lockheed Martin’s Patriot Advanced Capability 3 Missile Segment Enhancement (PAC-3 MSE). It has seen action in Ukraine against hypersonic aeroballistic missiles (the Kh-47M2 ‘Kinzhal’ or AS-24 Killjoy air-launched ballistic missile) and reportedly against hypersonic air-breathing missiles (the 3M22 ‘Zircon’ or ‘SS-N-33’ hypersonic cruise missile).


Hee-Cheol Jung

A fleet’s homeport performs vital functions that sustain naval power, including ship repair, resupply, maintenance, and training. The criticality of homeport infrastructure to naval power makes bases an attractive target. Neutralization of a homeport not only stands to neutralize the warships located at the homeport, but can significantly damage the operational longevity of fleets operating at sea.

The most infamous example of homeport strike is the attack on Pearl Harbor, highlighting how the major operational value of this type of attack can make for a critical war-opening move. The U.S. Navy considered similar strikes against its Soviet rival during the Cold War. In 1977, U.S. Navy Admiral Thomas Hayward, then commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, devised a strategy of directly attacking the homeport of the Soviet Pacific Fleet in Petropavlovsk on the Kamchatka peninsula by using a fleet of four carrier battle groups. The neutralization of the Soviet Navy’s Pacific Fleet homeport would not only help ensure the security of U.S. allies, it would also set the conditions for projecting power deeper into the Soviet homeland. Homeport strike has also prominently featured in the war in Ukraine, with strikes against Russian warships and naval infrastructure in the Black Sea Fleet’s Crimean homeport of Sevastopol. These strikes have been effective enough to force the relocation of Russian naval forces away from their traditional homeport and into less developed bases that are farther from the battlespace.

C-17 can now launch hypersonic missiles with Boeing’s new REVOLVER system

Bojan Stojkovski

Boeing has unveiled the innovative REVOLVER launcher system. It is expected to become a game-changer that can transform the C-17 Globemaster III into a formidable hypersonic missile carrier.

This advanced launcher features two sequentially installed drums and an electromagnetic catapult mechanism, allowing the rapid launch of up to 12 Boeing X-51A Waverider hypersonic cruise missiles.

Its design ensures precise and speedy deployment of each missile, enhancing the US’ aerial strike capabilities.

Versatile military workhorse enhanced with REVOLVER launcher system

The C-17 Globemaster III, the second-largest aircraft in the US Air Force fleet after the C-5M Super Galaxy, is nicknamed the “Buddha” due to its robust appearance. Capable of transporting 102 paratroopers, 54 medical patients, or 85 tons of cargo, including tanks, it operates with a crew of three and can fly directly from the US to virtually any global destination with mid-air refueling.

Is Israel-Hezbollah war inevitable?


Exchanges of fire between Israel and Lebanese Hezbollah, persistent over the past eight months, have intensified in recent weeks. The situation can escalate into a full-blown war in either of two ways.

One is for the present tit-for-tat to spin out of control in a manner that neither side plans. Escalation would be a result of the lethal logic of each side trying to deter the adversary’s future attacks by responding strongly to the most recent attack.

The other route to escalation would be an intentional resort to full-scale war by one side. Hezbollah is unlikely to be that side. Hezbollah has made clear all along that whatever it has been doing to keep the Israeli-Lebanese border heated it has done in sympathy with the beleaguered Palestinians of the Gaza Strip and in support of Hamas. Hezbollah sees no net benefit for itself of an all-out war with Israel. In the last previous such war in 2006, the group could claim some success in standing up to the most advanced military force in the Middle East but paid a substantial price in human and material costs. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah later expressed regret about the cross-border brinkmanship that led to that war.

Biden Faces a Hard Choice to Avert Israel’s Next War

Hal Brands

Israel faces several grave decisions in the coming weeks — what to do in Gaza after the fighting in Rafah concludes, how to balance the campaign against Hamas with the quest to free the hostages, whether to move decisively toward normalization with Saudi Arabia. But Israel’s most fateful choice is whether to pivot from one war, against Hamas, to another, against Hezbollah. That simmering conflict is approaching a moment for decision. The best way for President Joe Biden to head off a devastating Israeli war with Hezbollah in Lebanon is to demonstrate that he will back Israel to the hilt.

I spent last week in Israel with a group of US and European academics. Even as combat in Rafah rages, the crisis on Israel’s northern border dominates the strategic debate.

Since Oct. 7, the escalating back-and-forth between Israel and Hezbollah has claimed hundreds of lives and depopulated swaths of northern Israel and southern Lebanon. Although Israel has inflicted perhaps 10 fatalities for each one it has suffered, the government is hardly satisfied with the situation.

Tens of thousands of Israelis are still scattered from their homes; the country’s inhabitable territory has, in effect, contracted. Israeli tolerance for that predicament is waning.

America’s Asian Partners Are Not Worried Enough About Trump

Victor Cha

One cannot have a political conversation in Asian capitals today without getting pulled into a discussion about Donald Trump’s potential return to the White House. The Japanese have even coined a phrase, moshi-tora (“if Trump”)—shorthand for “What happens if Trump wins the U.S. presidential election in November?” Speculation abounds about how a second Trump term might differ from Joe Biden’s first term, during which Washington focused on deepening alliance partnerships and building coalitions to compete with China economically and to bolster Taiwan’s deterrence.

Trump has been vocal about his desire to prioritize America’s narrow self-interest and do less to help U.S. partners. And yet many Asian analysts and political leaders evince a degree of calm over the prospect of a second Trump term. Over the past four years, the U.S. Congress achieved some bipartisan consensus on strengthening alliances, diversifying supply chains, and protecting U.S. markets against competition from China, and some leaders in Asia hope that reasonable lawmakers might guide Trump’s policies. Others believe that because they managed an erratic Trump during his first term relatively successfully, they can do so again.

Hezbollah vs. Hamas: Key Differences in Military Power

Jesus Mesa

More than eight months after Hamas launched its surprise attack on Israel, triggering a brutal war in Gaza that shows no immediate signs of abating, a different Iran-backed militant group is threatening to draw Israel into a new front on its northern border.

Increasing clashes between Hezbollah and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) along the Israel-Lebanon border are raising fears that the conflict in Gaza could spread into an all-out regional conflagration.

Hamas and Hezbollah, both labeled as terrorist organizations by the U.S., EU and several other governments, are skilled in asymmetrical warfare. Both groups are supported by Iran and consider Israel to be their arch enemy. But while Hamas is more or less contained to Gaza — with its brutal Oct. 7 assault on southern Israel a notable exception — Hezbollah has transformed itself over the years, under the leadership of Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, into an influential political party and regional powerbroker.

"Hamas has increasingly received funding, weapons, and training from Iran, but it is not as controlled by Iran as Hezbollah, which is almost entirely backed by Iran and follows its directives," Julie M. Norman, associate professor in politics and international relations at UCL, recently wrote for The Conversation.

Netanyahu Ally Breaks Ranks over Hamas

Hugh Cameron

Tzachi Hanegbi, Israel's national security adviser, has seemingly broken ranks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to admit that Hamas "cannot be eliminated because it is an idea".

Despite Netanyahu's repeated pronouncements that his goal in this war remains the eradication of Hamas from the Gaza Strip, Hanegbi is only the latest prominent Israeli to cast doubt on the prime minister's bullish aims.

As reported by Ynet, an Israeli news site, Hanegbi's comments were made during a panel discussion at Reichman University, Tel Aviv in Tuesday morning. The conference was delayed due to protestors preventing Hanegbi from speaking.

Hanegbi is a member of Netanyahu's Likud party, and has previously held several positions within his government, including Minister of Health, Justice, and Transportation. He assumed the role of the country's national security advisor in January 2023.

What DOD’s new Fulcrum IT strategy means for warfighters


The Defense Department’s 15-page plan to guide military and civilian components’ sprawling information technology activities and objectives in fiscal years 2025 through 2029 places a sharp focus on user experience and lays out concrete metrics to track tangible progress.

Now, following the official release of DOD’s new Fulcrum: IT Advancement Strategy on Tuesday, the Chief Information Office-led team that shaped it is moving to mobilize an enterprisewide commitment to the four, integrated directions the blueprint is organized around.

“I’m going to spend the rest of this calendar year making sure that we put in place the right governance structure to help oversee synchronizing the department to move out and deliver in these lines of effort,” Principal Deputy Chief Information Officer Leslie Beavers explained.

In an exclusive interview with DefenseScoop to preview Fulcrum ahead of its publication, Beavers shed light on Pentagon leadership’s vision for carrying out this next-generation IT strategy and what its realization could really look like for DOD.

Grand Strategy, Innovation and Technology-Power

Michael Hochberg & Leonard Hochberg

The pace of technological innovation has accelerated dramatically over the past couple of hundred years, and there is no end in sight. Technical innovations generally take one of three forms: Cost reductions for existing products and services, functionality improvements (including fundamentally new kinds of functionality), and changes in the form in which a given kind of functionality can be delivered - for instance, making the same functionality available in a smaller or lighter form.

Dramatic technological innovations, when followed through with implementation at scale, have the power to make prior technologies obsolete very rapidly. As the world has become more networked, the potential has grown for new technologies to disrupt the balance of military power rapidly and comprehensively. It is frequently the case that highly innovative new technology can, at very low cost, make enormous investments in prior technologies both obsolete and irrelevant. If we look at the race toward ever more effective technologies as a component of warfare, then these opportunities to spend modest sums to develop highly disruptive technologies are a form of asymmetric warfare.

New weapons will eclipse atomic bombs. Their builders ask themselves this question - Opinion

Alexander C. Karp and Nicholas W. Zamiska

On July 16, 1945, not long after dawn, a group of scientists and government officials gathered at a desolate stretch of sand in the New Mexico desert to witness humanity’s first test of a nuclear weapon. The explosion was described by an onlooker as “brilliant purple.” The thunder from the bomb’s detonation seemed to ricochet and linger in the desert.

J. Robert Oppenheimer, who had led the project that culminated in the test, contemplated that morning the possibility that this destructive power might somehow contribute to an enduring peace. He recalled the hope of Alfred Nobel, the Swedish industrialist and philanthropist, that dynamite, which Nobel had invented, would end wars.

After seeing how dynamite had been used in making bombs, Nobel confided to a friend that more capable weapons, not less, would be the best guarantors of peace. He wrote, “The only thing that will ever prevent nations from beginning war is terror.”


The Army should integrate cyber warfare, artificial intelligence and autonomous systems to maintain the information advantage, according to the author of a new paper published by the Association of the U.S. Army.

“Information is the raison d’être for command and control, situational understanding, decision-making and nearly all action across the warfighting functions,” retired Lt. Col. Amos Fox writes. “Bold steps are required for the Army to maximize its potential in the information dimension. It must carefully examine how to reorganize its forces, rewrite its concepts and doctrines, and reimagine the battlefield.”

In “Information Advantage: Using Cyber Warfare and HMI to Seize the Initiative,” Fox argues that data and information should be “reimagined” for future battlefields. Fox is a fellow with Arizona State University’s Future Security Initiative. He also works as an independent defense and security studies analyst, hosts the “Revolution in Military Affairs” podcast and serves as an editorial board member for the Journal of Military Studies.

Fox cites the Army’s definition of information advantage as “when a force holds the initiative in terms of situational understanding, decision-making and relevant actor behavior.”