1 July 2024

TAPAS A Phoenix Rising Above Challenges: India’s Indigenous MALE Drone Takes Wings – Analysis

Girish Linganna

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has put forward a proposal to the government to acquire 10 TAPAS drones. These drones are developed indigenously in India. According to defence officials, the plan is for the IAF to receive six of these drones, while the remaining four will be allocated to the Indian Navy. This move by the IAF represents a significant effort to bolster India’s indigenous capabilities when it comes to unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance purposes.

By acquiring these TAPAS drones, the armed forces are showing their commitment to utilizing domestic defence technology to fulfil their operational requirements.

The armed forces’ decision to purchase TAPAS drones, even with some performance limitations, reflects commendable vision and a strong sense of duty. The IAF will take the lead in bringing in and acquiring TAPAS drones for the defence forces. The Defence Ministry is expected to review this plan soon. But, right now, only the IAF and the Indian Navy are planning to buy these drones.

Indigenously Developed Drones

Classified as medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) drones, the TAPAS drones have been indigenously developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). They will be manufactured by a group of companies, including Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

Why Do India and China Keep Fighting Over This Desolate Terrain?

Yudhijit Bhattacharjee

The 2,100-mile border separating India and China passes through some of the world’s most inhospitable terrain. In the west, it runs along India’s Ladakh region, at an altitude of 13,000 to 20,000 feet. During the months when the area isn’t covered in snow, the ground resembles a moonscape. The earth is sandy, strewn with rocks and pebbles; not a blade of grass grows anywhere; there are no visible signs of animal life. In winter, temperatures can drop to –40 degrees. The bleak conditions and barren vistas can induce despair in those who set foot on the land. “I’ve been to those places,” a former Indian diplomat who now works for an international Buddhist organization in Delhi told me. “When you visit, you tend to think, Who the hell even wants this area?”

But that’s not how nation-states view territory, no matter how desolate it is. That is why India and China have their armies deployed on these heights along an unmarked and, in many places, contested boundary between the two countries. In the absence of any fencing or barbed wire to demarcate territory, soldiers from each nation contend with considerable ambiguity when conducting patrols along what’s known as the Line of Actual Control. Vinod Bhatia, who served as director general of military operations for the Indian Army and is now retired, describes it as a line of perceptions.

“It’s four lines, actually,” he told me when I visited Delhi last year. “One is the Indian perception of the Line of Actual Control. Another is the Chinese perception of the Line of Actual Control. Third is the Indian perception of the Chinese perception of the Line of Actual Control — because we have a perception based on their line of patrolling. And the fourth is, of course, the Chinese perception of the Indian perception of the Line of Actual Control.”

Why Is China Stockpiling Key Resources?

Bonnie Girard

Is China getting ready to invade Taiwan?

This is one of the questions that prompted a hearing this month by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a government-funded organization that follows the relationship between the United States and China. In this month’s hearing, commissioners of the USCC heard that China is stockpiling minerals and other key resources in what could be a precursor to war, specifically an attempted invasion and takeover of Taiwan.

“The Chinese central government stockpiling minerals is one potential indicator that it may be preparing to invade Taiwan,” ​Gregory Wischer of Dei Gratia Minerals told the Commission in a prepared statement.

Wischer went on to say that China’s stockpile, managed by China’s National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration, is in charge of managing the “large volumes of minerals like aluminum, cobalt, and copper” that China is amassing, presumably “for strategic reasons.”

Stockpiling is a measure to not only overcome production shortages of various resources, but to also bypass troubles with sourcing and purchasing those resources should a nation fall into international disfavor, as China certainly would with much of the world should they attempt a military takeover of Taiwan.

Forgotten Wars: The Civil War in Myanmar

Matteo Balzarini Zane

After the Myanmar army (Tatmadaw) overthrew the government of Aung San Suu Kyi in a coup on February 1, 2021, the country was plunged into chaos and violence. Peaceful protests against the government were violently suppressed, resulting in thousands of arrests and hundreds of civilian deaths. Minority militias have been fighting for partial or full independence from the central government for decades, increasing the resistance of the army and making internal conflicts more comfortable.

The United Nations and various human rights organizations have repeatedly reported human rights violations by the military, including executions, torture, and indiscriminate attacks on the population. The Security Council passed several resolutions condemning this, but direct sanctions were hampered by the joint veto power of Russia and China. The two superpowers have strategic and economic interests in the region and are therefore reluctant to support policies that could jeopardize their relations with Myanmar and the Tatmadaw (which supplies arms to Moscow).

Rebel groups under the protection of the Federal Government and the People's Defense Forces have stepped up resistance in recent months, but they are seeking greater control, with the military still controlling major cities and key construction sites. The harsh countryside and mountains have deep ethnic groups.

4 Ways China Gets Around US AI Chip Restrictions

Che-Jen Wang

The recently concluded Computex 2024 in Taipei gathered the world’s most renowned computer manufacturers, and invited an unprecedentedly large number of CEOs of chip manufacturers to be its keynote speakers. The themes of the exhibition were artificial intelligence (AI), green energy sustainability, and innovation, with particular emphasis on the arrival of the 3 nm process era in AI. The 3 nm GPU products introduced at the keynote include Nvidia’s Rubin platform, Intel’s Lunar Lake, AMD’s MI350 series, and even ARM’s v9.2 architecture based on 3 nm.

In the AI field, the difference of computing power between 7 nm and 3 nm chips lies in the number of transistors. Comparing Nvidia’s 7 nm A100 with the company’s 4nm B200, the number of transistors increases significantly from 54.2 billion to 208 billion, nearly quadrupling. In terms of half-precision floating point (FP16) computation, the B200 delivers 2,250 TFLOPS, while the A100 delivers 312 TFLOPS, a more than seven-fold increase. Taking into account the performance of peripheral components and ecosystems, the actual computing power of the 3 nm chipset far surpasses the multiplier mentioned above.

The goals of the Biden administration’s technology policy – described as a “small yard, high fence” approach – are to impede, cripple, and delay China’s development of precisely this kind of advanced chip technology. By doing so, Washington seeks to halt China’s progress in AI and high-performance computing (HPC) capabilities and thereby buy time for the U.S. and its allies to expand their lead in cutting-edge technology. But so far, the measures have seen only limited success.

China Levels Graft Charges Against Former Defense Ministers

Chris Buckley

China’s leadership accused two former defense ministers on Thursday of taking “huge” bribes and of other acts of corruption that compromised military promotions and the nation’s weapons production complex.

Two announcements from the Chinese Communist Party’s Politburo, a council of 24 top officials, laid out multiple accusations of crime and insubordination against Gen. Li Shangfu, the defense minister for much of last year, and Gen. Wei Fenghe, the minister from 2018 to 2023. The statements suggested that more heads could roll in expanding investigations.

Speculation has built since last year that China’s leader, Xi Jinping, had begun inquiries into military corruption and misconduct, after senior officers from the People’s Liberation Army’s Rocket Force were abruptly replaced or had disappeared. General Li’s removal as defense minister in October, after he had vanished from public view for months, added weight to the rumors. But only now has China’s leadership revealed the range of allegations involved in the investigations.

China ‘Actively’ Working to Disrupt U.S. Defense Industry

Greg Hadley

China and other adversaries are actively seeking to disrupt the U.S. defense industrial base, the head of U.S. Cyber Command warned June 25.

Air Force Gen. Timothy D. Haugh said the People’s Republic of China is “engaging thousands of intelligence, military, and commercial personnel” to steal U.S. intellectual property and disrupt defense firms business processes. Speaking at the 2024 AFCEA TechNet Cyber conference, Haugh cited Volt Typhoon, a Chinese hacking enterprise, for moves to infiltrate critical industries.

The Department of Defense released its first-ever National Defense Industrial Strategy in January, and followed up with a Defense Industrial Base Cybersecurity Strategy in March. That strategy noted that China is “conducting a focused campaign to undermine the nation’s operational effectiveness and obtain information on sensitive DIB acquisition programs in technology.”

China has long sought to harvest U.S. defense companies’ expertise. In 2019, then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper accused China of “perpetrating the greatest intellectual property theft in human histor,” while other experts have long suggested that the People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s premier J-20 fighter jet incorporates numerous stolen design secrets.

Cognitive Combat

Bradley Bowman

Introduction

China, Russia, and Iran are waging an information war against the United States, yet many Americans do not realize they are under attack. Nor do they appreciate that developments on the battlefield of ideas and beliefs can have a decisive impact on the security and way of life Americans enjoy. This lack of awareness is ideal for Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran — predators like nothing better than hunting slumbering prey.

Americans may not realize they are already in an information war because adversaries attempt to conceal their activities. To make matters worse, Americans often think of international conflict consciously or subconsciously in the context of kinetic war — soldiers, ships, and aircraft battling one another on land, at sea, or in the air. So, when there is no overt conflict, Americans can be lulled into a false sense of security.

This propensity works to the advantage of China, Russia, and Iran, which view conflict with the United States more like a dial than a two-way switch.1 These adversaries turn the dial’s intensity up or down as needed, but hostile intentions toward the United States and attacks in the information domain remain constant regardless of whether a ‘shooting war’ is underway.

US needs NATO-Style Defense Against China Hackers: Cyber Expert

Hugh Cameron

Cyber experts have called on the U.S. and its allies to protect themselves from China's hacking programme with a Nato-style collective approach.

Cyber espionage has become a central prong in China's foreign policy, with the scale and complexity of its offensive cybersecurity infrastructure astounding experts.

Blake Cahen, director of cybersecurity at IronNet, has warned that breaches are destined to continue unless countries and companies shore up their online defenses.

"Collective defence - like NATO - is the concept of sharing data so that a compromise or a threat against one member of the collective is not isolated.

The Only Five Paths China’s Economy Can Follow

Michael Pettis

The first quarter GDP numbers that China’s National Bureau of Statistics released last week have renewed what was already an aggressive debate about whether or not China would be able to meet the 5.5 percent GDP growth target it set for itself this year. Two weeks ago, for example, for the second time in three months, the International Monetary Fund lowered its GDP growth forecast for the country to 4.4 percent from 4.8 percent in January 2022 and 5.6 percent last October. Given the serious headwinds the economy is facing, many analysts question whether China can achieve even this rate of growth.

But it’s a mistake to view China’s growth in terms of whether it can or cannot achieve a particular GDP target. China’s GDP growth is not a measure of the country’s economic output and performance in the same way the statistic is for other major economies. China’s GDP growth target is an input decided by Beijing at the beginning of the year. Its fulfillment depends on the extent to which the economic authorities are able and willing to use the country’s resources and debt capacity to achieve the required amount of economic activity.

Higher GDP growth for China, in other words, doesn’t mean a better economic outcome than lower GDP growth, as it does for most other economies. It just means that the authorities were more willing to employ resources for creating economic activity, whether or not that activity is productive or sustainable. System inputs cannot indicate anything about the performance of that system. Because GDP growth in China is such an input, it cannot be a measure of how well the economic system performs. Only an output measure can gauge its performance.

China Modernizes AWACS ‘Flying Radars’ To Counter US Military; Draws Critical Lessons From Ukraine Conflict

Shubhangi Palve

In the shadow of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, a quiet revolution is taking place in China’s military aviation. The world’s second-largest defense spender is rapidly modernizing its “eyes in the sky” – the crucial Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft that serve as flying command centers in modern warfare.

For the past 28 months, the world has been closely observing the Russia-Ukraine war. This conflict has witnessed the deployment of numerous weapons systems, including drones, missiles, and the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS).

According to experts, Chinese strategists remain highly interested in the performance of AWACS, in addition to all other weapons systems.

In a recent development, the Chinese social media platform ‘Weibo’ buzzed with sightings of a new variant of the Kongjing-500N long-range radar detection and control aircraft. Spotted among the Northern Fleet of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy, this aircraft is rumored to be the Kunjing-700.

Open-source intelligence (OSINT) images reveal that the new Kongjing-500N features a light bulb-shaped addition to the nose and a new radar system on the underside, similar to the one on China’s Yungan-9 (Shaanxi Y-9) reconnaissance plane.

This revelation follows reports from November 2022 suggesting China is developing next-generation “strategic airborne early warning” aircraft amid escalating tensions with Taiwan, the United States, and regional U.S. allies.

Initially met with skepticism by military experts, these ambitions now seem increasingly plausible. The Kunjing-700 may well be a fruit of these efforts, especially significant given U.S.-imposed obstacles in acquiring foreign radar and AWACS technologies.

An Israel-Hezbollah War Would Devour the Middle East

Alexander Langlois

After nine months of brutal fighting in Gaza, Israel and Lebanese Hezbollah appear poised to escalate ongoing hostilities into a broader war. Indeed, both sides are saber-rattling as Israel finalizes heavy operations in Gaza to shift focus to the Lebanon front, with Israel particularly committed to ensuring an enduring defeat of its northern foe. This reality should terrify world leaders who must publicly reject any potential conflict, given the potential for mass displacement on par with the 2015–16 refugee crisis.

Lebanon and Hezbollah have exchanged cross-border fire since October 8—one day after Hamas attacked Israel. Both parties have increased their fiery rhetoric and actions since, expanding the scope and scale of their military operations, targeting increasingly important figures and locations while promising a broader bloody war. Critically, the situation appears to fall outside the normal deterrence structure established after the 2006 war between the two parties.

Israeli leaders are not holding back in public statements, with Israeli defense minister Yoav Gallant repeating prior threats that his country will send Lebanon “back to the stone age” on June 27. This and similar rhetoric from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu highlight Israel’s willingness to invade Lebanon.

The Arab-Israeli Conflict and Asymmetric Warfare

Hilal Khashan

Arabs and Israelis fought conventional wars in 1948, 1956 and 1967. The Six-Day War convinced Arabs that their militaries were no match for Israel’s technologically superior forces. Even before that conflict, the United States and the Soviet Union knew that Israel had a military edge over Arab states. Aware of his army’s weaknesses that led to its poor performance against Yemeni royalists in 1962-67, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser admitted that he had no plans to start a war against Israel. Realizing that they could not count on Arabs to end their forced displacement, the Fatah Movement decided to wage an asymmetric war against Israel as early as 1965.

Asymmetric wars apply to internal conflicts, motivated mainly by ideology or the rejection of a colonial power without ideological attachment to its colonies. This essay argues that all Arab entities that have waged asymmetric warfare against Israel have been unsuccessful and that its further use does not bode well for Arab armies and guerrilla movements in their wars with Israel. The Israelis do not see themselves as an occupation force, and waging war against them, whether conventional or asymmetric, would not cause them to concede.

Asymmetric Warfare Explained

Chinese military general Sun Tzu constructed the asymmetric warfare concept two and a half millennia ago. He understood it as the ability to take on an adversary when it cannot defend itself or counterattack. Mao Zedong gave the term contemporary meaning during his stay in the north-central Chinese city of Yanan in 1937-47. His war strategy centered on using the weak to defeat the strong. The conditions specific to China that led to the defeat of the nationalists (mainly rampant corruption, hyperinflation and the loss of popular support for the movement) and the triumph of the communists do not apply to the Middle East’s asymmetric wars. Later, Cuban revolutionary leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara described guerrilla warfare as the preliminary stage of an armed conflict that does not lead to complete victory unless the insurgents develop into a regular army.

Iran Demands US and Israel Exit Syria as Bigger War Brews

Tom O'Connor

Iran's most senior diplomat at the United Nations has issued a fresh call for the total exit of U.S. and Israeli forces from Syria as conflict continued to rage on several fronts across the Middle East, setting the stage for a potential broader regional war.

The statement was issued Tuesday at the Security Council by Iranian Permanent Representative Amir Saeid Iravani and shared with Newsweek by the Iranian Mission to the U.N.

"The Syrian people continue to suffer from humanitarian crises, aggression, foreign occupation, and terrorism," Iravani said. "Through unlawful occupation, inhumane sanctions, politicizing the return of refugees and IDPs, and preventing international support for Syria's reconstruction, certain Western countries are responsible for the prolongation of the conflict as they attempt to impose their own will on the Syrian people."

Iravani singled out the United States, which cut ties with the Iran and Russia-backed Syrian government and instead largely supports a Kurdish-led militia known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that controls much of the country's northeast.

"Any separatist agendas and illegitimate self-rule initiatives must be rejected and all foreign forces whose presence is illegal in the territory of Syria by the Syrian Government must withdraw from Syria," Iravani said. "In this context, the full, immediate, and unconditional withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria is essential for the peace and stability of Syria."

He also called out Israel over its "continued aggressions against Syria's sovereignty, targeting civilians and vital infrastructure" as well as its "unlawful" occupation of the southwestern Golan Heights, seized during the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed without international recognition.

Ukraine Military Situation: Russian Forces Maintain Offensive Combat Operations Along Multiple Fronts – Analysis

Can Kasapo─člui

1. Battlefield Assessment

Russian forces maintained offensive combat operations along multiple axes. In eastern and northeastern Ukraine, Russian units assaulted areas near Bakhmut and in the outer rings of Kharkiv, and secured marginal advances in ground attacks around Chasiv Yar and Avdiivka. In southern Ukraine, the Kremlin’s forces scaled up offensive action around Kamianske in Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

Fierce battles raged on the Kharkiv axis, particularly near Vovchansk. Moscow continued to send inadequately equipped troops to their death in large numbers in northeastern Ukraine, where the Ukrainian Armed Forces are enveloping and isolating the invading servicemen. Several sources confirm that Ukrainian units trapped and captured hundreds of Russian soldiers attempting a river crossing near the PJSC Volchansky Chemical Plant.

Moscow has increased its use of glide bombs to advance its multifront push. This tactic has allowed Russian forces to conduct more expansive ground operations and accelerate the destruction and depopulation of critical urban combat zones, a long-standing Kremlin strategy since its wars in Chechnya in the 1990s. Last week Moscow targeted a three-story building in Kharkiv with a FAB-3000 glide bomb from a Sukhoi-34 fighter-bomber, the first documented employment of the munition in Ukraine. This giant weapon, which weighs over three tons, lacks the aerodynamics and precision of smaller smart munitions but has a massive kill radius that makes it a formidable asset.

America Wants to Know: Is Joe Biden Really Fit to Be President?

Doug Bandow

Most of a president’s actions and much of a presidential candidate’s moves are carefully choreographed. This is why gaffes, which usually result from unscripted moments or unexpected improvisations, loom so large on the campaign trail. Last night’s presidential debate was just such an episode.

There wasn’t that much substantive debate. Both candidates are big spenders, though President Joe Biden is significantly worse. He is a politician who has gone fiscally wild, putting the United States on course for a $2 trillion annual deficit—without a financial crisis, killer pandemic, or hot war. Absent a serious change in policy, the federal debt could amount to twice America’s GDP by midcentury.

Both candidates are committed to running the world irrespective of the costs and risks and relying on Washington’s expensive and antiquated alliances. However, former president Donald Trump at least occasionally criticizes America’s cheap-riding friends. The international situation is worse today than it was when Biden took office, but Trump’s claim that war would be a thing of the past if he were still president is more fantasy than reality. Indeed, Trump was even more dangerously solicitous toward Israel and Saudi Arabia than Biden.

The US military chases shiny new things and the ranks suffer

DAN GRAZIER

Twenty young Americans have died in a series of V-22 Osprey crashes over the past two years. Since the revolutionary tilt-rotor aircraft began flying in 1989, 57 Ospreys have suffered significant accidents killing a total of 62 service members and injuring another 93.

The House Oversight Committee (notably not the Armed Services Committee) held a hearing on June 12 to listen to testimony about the program’s safety concerns. Members were told the Osprey would continue to fly for short trips in spite of a known faulty part while engineers try to devise a permanent fix.

It is easy to fixate on Osprey crashes when they happen because, as a transport aircraft, they can kill a lot of people in a single instant. What has been overlooked is what the Osprey represents in a larger pattern of DoD acquisition failures.

In many respects, the Osprey led the way in a trend towards ever-increasing complex weapons programs. Instead of iterating on the tried-and-true CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter program it was meant to replace, Marine Corps leaders fully invested themselves on an untested and underdeveloped program based on entirely new and more complex technology.

Russia Threatens Response to U.S. Drones Over the Black Sea


Russia’s defense minister ordered officials to prepare a “response” to U.S. drone flights over the Black Sea, the ministry said Friday, in an apparent warning that Moscow may take forceful action to ward off the American reconnaissance aircraft.

The Russian Defense Ministry noted a recent “increased intensity” of U.S. drones over the Black Sea, saying they “conduct intelligence and targeting for precision weapons supplied to the Ukrainian military by Western countries for strikes on Russian facilities.”

“It shows an increased involvement of the U.S. and other NATO countries in the conflict in Ukraine on the side of the Kyiv regime,” the ministry said in a statement.

It noted that “such flights significantly increase the probability of incidents involving Russian military aircraft, which increases the risk of direct confrontation between the alliance and the Russian Federation.”

Is America fit to lead the West?

Michael Evans

Foreign policy rarely plays a significant role in a US presidential election. Domestic issues, the economy, money in the pocket, jobs, immigration, these are what voters are most concerned about. But this time, it could be different.

The first TV debate between President Biden and Donald Trump seemed focused on one thing: is Biden the man to trust to lead the western alliance for another four-year term? Or, as Trump insinuated, is he so weakened and fragile that none of the adversarial leaders in the world have any respect for him, let alone fear him?

Fear, it seems, is the former president’s trump card. As he told Biden and voters in the debate, Vladimir Putin would never have dared invade Ukraine, had he been president. Nor would Hamas have committed the atrocity against Israel on 7 October last year, if he had been in the White House.

Israel and Hezbollah are destroying the meaning of red lines

Dr Lina Khatib

The Gaza conflict has changed the rules of engagement between Israel and Hezbollah. Prior to 7 October, they both adhered to a de facto code of conflict that had been in place since their 2006 war.

The unwritten rules limited the scope of Hezbollah’s attacks to Israeli-held territory like the Shebaa Farms (territory purported to be disputed in terms of state ownership but which the government in Beirut says is Lebanese) rather than areas inside Israel itself. Over the past nine months, however, these rules have become elastic.

Hezbollah – a heavily armed, Iran-backed force – entered the fray of the Gaza conflict by launching rockets on Israeli-held territory in October.

Its involvement quickly expanded to include strikes deeper inside Israel. The latter retaliated by initially striking Hezbollah military targets close to the Israel-Lebanon border, but later also widened the scope of its attacks to cover a greater area of southern Lebanon and the Beqaa Valley.

'Every trench' in Ukraine needs a close-range electronic warfare shield against drones and other threats, top official says

Jake Epstein

]Russia and Ukraine have relied heavily on electronic warfare tactics throughout the conflict, leaning on cheap — but highly effective — technology to interfere with the targeting process of precision strike weapons like attack drones and guided munitions.

With the battlefield full of such threats, especially the drones that threaten anything that moves, the need for electronic warfare systems is tremendous. One senior Ukrainian official said Kyiv has invested extensively in pumping out these capabilities so that they can be sent to front-line forces.

"In terms of the development of EW systems, we are now doing the same thing we did with drones: scaling domestic production," explained Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine's minister of digital transformation, in translated remarks shared with Business Insider.

"To do so, we've started by identifying production needs, capabilities, and challenges," he said, adding, "We liberate the conditions so more private companies can engage, produce, and compete. And it's working. We already see results."

US Issues Strategic Warning to Israel

David Brennan

The Pentagon has warned Israel against any "miscalculation" along its northern border with Lebanon, as fighting between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Iran-aligned Hezbollah militia continues and Israeli leaders threaten to launch a full-scale cross-frontier incursion.

Speaking with reporters earlier this week, Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said the U.S. believes a diplomatic solution to the border tensions is still achievable and that "no one" would benefit from a new Israel-Lebanon war, which could plunge the region into fresh conflict.

"We firmly believe that a diplomatic resolution to the tensions along the Israel/Lebanon border are the way to go," Ryder said. "And to prevent a potential escalation, and especially in this type of situation where there's a risk of miscalculation that no one wants to see."

"No one wins if there's a broader regional conflict," Ryder added.

Cross-border fighting has been near-constant since Hamas' October 7 attack on southern Israel, with Hezbollah—as fellow member of the Iranian-led "Axis of Resistance"—launching attacks in support of the Palestinian militant group and demanding a full Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

Israel has conducted multiple assassinations of top Hezbollah and Hamas officials within Lebanon, both in the southern region controlled by the group and in the capital of Beirut.

Israeli troops, meanwhile, have been training for a possible incursion into southern Lebanon for several months, with "operational plans" for an offensive into Lebanon already "approved and validated," according to the IDF.

Decoding Taiwan’s True AI Potential

Kai-Shen Huang and Hsin-Ta Tsai

As the global artificial intelligence (AI) revolution unfolds, Taiwan finds itself playing a crucial role in shaping the future of this transformative technology, particularly its dominance in the world’s AI chip market. This prominence was showcased at the recent Computex 2024 expo in Taipei, where industry giants such as Nvidia, AMD, Intel, and Qualcomm all came to the island to unveil their latest AI solutions.

Coverage by CNN and The Guardian reported that Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang referred to Taiwan as “the home of our treasured partners” and the inception point for all Nvidia’s initiatives.

Indeed, Taiwan has been active in reaching out to AI chipmakers, including through 2023 amendments to the Statute for Industrial Innovation. The reform allows chip manufacturers to claim a 25 percent tax deduction on research and development for advanced chips, along with a 5 percent deduction for advanced manufacturing equipment purchases.

However, despite its substantial contributions to the global AI ecosystem, Taiwan often struggles to accurately represent itself in global assessments by international organizations such as the United Nations.

Deepfakes Are Evolving. This Company Wants to Catch Them All


Hany Farid, a leading expert on image and video manipulation, says that detecting deepfakes will take more than AI alone.

Some Fortune 500 companies have begun testing software that can spot a deepfake of a real person in a live video call, following a spate of scams involving fraudulent job seekers who take a signing bonus and run.

The detection technology comes courtesy of GetReal Labs, a new company founded by Hany Farid, a UC-Berkeley professor and renowned authority on deepfakes and image and video manipulation.

GetReal Labs has developed a suite of tools for spotting images, audio, and video that are generated or manipulated either with artificial intelligence or manual methods. The company’s software can analyze the face in a video call and spot clues that may indicate it has been artificially generated and swapped onto the body of a real person.

“These aren’t hypothetical attacks, we’ve been hearing about it more and more,” Farid says. “In some cases, it seems they're trying to get intellectual property, infiltrating the company. In other cases, it seems purely financial, they just take the signing bonus.”

The FBI issued a warning in 2022 about deepfake job hunters who assume a real person’s identity during video calls. UK-based design and engineering firm Arup lost $25 million to a deepfake scammer posing as the company’s CFO. Romance scammers have also adopted the technology, swindling unsuspecting victims out of their savings.

Impersonating a real person on a live video feed is just one example of the kind of reality-melting trickery now possible thanks to AI. Large language models can convincingly mimic a real person in online chat, while short videos can be generated by tools like OpenAI’s Sora. Impressive AI advances in recent years have made deepfakery more convincing and more accessible. Free software makes it easy to hone deepfakery skills, and easily accessible AI tools can turn text prompts into realistic-looking photographs and videos.

The AI leadership imperative: Preparing federal agencies for AI’s impact

SCOOP NEWS GROUP

Anew report underscores the urgent need for federal government leaders to help their executives better understand and embrace artificial intelligence’s rapid emergence to meet the challenges and opportunities that AI’s impact will have on their organizations.

The new report, “Leading Agency Innovation in the Age of AI,” asserts that federal officials must make a broader effort to educate their leadership teams and support a work environment that encourages leaders to identify appropriate AI use cases and lay the groundwork for moving from the possible to the practical.

The report, produced by Scoop News Group and underwritten by Microsoft, highlights the work of one organization — the nonprofit, nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service — that has been working behind the scenes across government to cultivate a growing cohort of senior executives to more fully understand what AI can and cannot do and how to put AI to practical use at their agencies.Download the full report.

The Partnership’s AI Federal Leadership Program brings together qualified senior executives through a six-month course that explores AI’s capabilities and potential impact on government agencies and culminates in executives having to develop an AI project roadmap to implement at their agencies. Since its inception, more than 500 senior executives from 40 agencies across the federal government and over 30 states have completed the program.

“The program not only serves as a model for training government leaders about AI and its impact but is also producing a growing — and much-needed — cohort of senior government executives who are better equipped to guide their agencies through AI transformation,” the report says.