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Cyber Security, Digital Transition, Technology Geopolitics & Worlds In-Defense

Daily news – February 10, 2022

News from: Al Jazeera, Brookings, Defense News, Defense One, East Asia Forum, Global Times, Reuters, The Jamestown Foundation

AFRICA

Africa needs smarter investment in digital infrastructure: Strategies for enticing the private sector. Tara Nathan, Brookings: Weak infrastructure is widely accepted as a fundamental limitation to growth in Africa. Governments in the region struggle to meet the basic needs of residents, including access to food, education, health, and livelihoods, much less invest in critical, reusable infrastructure that could provide long-term solutions to social problems. Africa needs smarter investment in digital infrastructure: Strategies for enticing the private sector (brookings.edu)

BALTIC NATIONS – OSCE – BELARUS – RUSSIA

Baltic nations launch OSCE appeal over Russia-Belarus drill. Sebastian Sprenger, Defense NewsSpooked by Russia’s troop buildup in Belarus, the three Baltic nations today filed a formal transparency request under the rules of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, of which Minsk is a member. The request is meant to encourage Belarus to disclose key data about the Union Resolve 2022 exercise, slated to start on Feb. 10 and run through Feb. 20. The drill, which comes at a time of unprecedented tension between Russia and the West over Ukraine, is meant to flex operational military ties between Russia and Belarus. Baltic nations launch OSCE appeal over Russia-Belarus drill (defensenews.com)

CHINA

How China’s 5G technology empowers Beijing Winter Olympics. Shen WeiduoZhang Hongpei, Global Times: From broadcasting services and real-time weather forecasts, to timing and scoring during events, as well as transportation and medical services, China’s 5G technology has been adopted in numerous aspects of the ongoing Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, which is said to be the first ever Winter Olympics with full 5G coverage. How China’s 5G technology empowers Beijing Winter Olympics – Global Times

Rare-earth supplies in China to remain tight amid surging prices. Global Times: Hot demand for rare-earth metals used in electric vehicles (EVs) and disrupted rare-earth imports from Myanmar have together sent the prices of the scarce materials in China up about 14 percent so far in 2022, with tight supplies. Rare-earth supplies in China to remain tight amid surging prices – Global Times

China’s top economic planner issues notice on urban environmental protection. Global Times: China’s top economic planner and other departments on Wednesday issued a joint notice with a clear target for improving urban development as part of the efforts for environmental protection. China’s top economic planner issues notice on urban environmental protection – Global Times

Regular appearances of improved J-11B fighter indicate massive upgrade program: analysts. Liu Xuanzun, Global Times: The upgraded version of China’s J-11B fighter jet, characterized by its white radar dome compared with the original version’s black one, has featured in several recent official reports, with analysts saying that this could be an indication that more original J-11Bs will be upgraded to the latest variant in the near future. Regular appearances of improved J-11B fighter indicate massive upgrade program: analysts – Global Times

CHINA – LITHUANIA

China suspends Lithuanian beef imports amid escalating Taiwan row. Al Jazeera: China has suspended imports of beef from Lithuania, amid a growing trade spat with the Baltic nation and its Western allies over Taiwan. The General Administration of Customs did not give a reason for the suspension, which took effect on Wednesday. China suspends Lithuanian beef imports amid escalating Taiwan row | International Trade News | Al Jazeera

CHINA – NEPAL

BBC’s China-Nepal border dispute hype a ‘smear campaign’. Hu Yuwei, Fan Lingzhi, Global Times: The BBC recently hyped the baseless claim of China encroaching on Nepal’s territory, which has been repeatedly denied by both countries, with observers saying the BBC’s report is part of a smear campaign against China amid applause for the Beijing Winter Olympics. BBC’s China-Nepal border dispute hype a ‘smear campaign’ – Global Times

CHINA – RUSSIA

China and Russia accelerate energy cooperation with Eastern Gas Pipeline in full swing. Global Times: The underwater shield crossing project that passes through the Yangtze River of China-Russia Eastern Gas Pipeline is in full swing, which is the key project of the southern section of the China-Russia Eastern Gas Pipeline, with a total length of 10.226 kilometers, the longest tunnel under construction across the Yangtze River. China and Russia accelerate energy cooperation with Eastern Gas Pipeline in full swing – Global Times

CHINA – USA

Biden’s vow to ‘re-win’ electric vehicle race actually an acknowledgement of China’s NEV progress. Global Times: US President Joe Biden tweeted on Tuesday that “China has been leading the electric vehicle race but that is about to change,” adding that his administration is planning to build “a convenient, reliable, equitable national public charging network.”. Biz Quick Take: Biden’s vow to ‘re-win’ electric vehicle race actually an acknowledgement of China’s NEV progress – Global Times

ETHIOPIA

Ethiopian officials accused of extorting Tigrayan detainees. Ethiopian security officers have been systematically extorting and abusing Tigrayan civilians held without charge, including minors and the elderly, since a wave of nationwide mass arrests began last year, according to alleged victims and their families. Estimates say thousands of civilians have been rounded up since the conflict between rebels from the country’s northern Tigray region and Ethiopia’s national army began 15 months ago. Ethiopian officials accused of extorting Tigrayan detainees | Conflict News | Al Jazeera

INDIA

Indian government bows to pressure, repeals farm laws. Sthanu R Nair, East Asia Forum: Despite constituting only 16.38 per cent of gross domestic product, agriculture plays an important role in India’s economic development. The sector employs over half of India’s workforce, feeds its huge population, generates demand for industrial goods, supplies raw materials, and earns foreign exchange. But farmers still face several challenges in improving their income and living standardsIndian government bows to pressure, repeals farm laws (eastasiaforum.org)

The key issues in India’s upcoming state elections. Alasdair Pal, Reuters: Uttar Pradesh, the first of five Indian states going to the polls this month, begins voting in a state election on Thursday. Here are some key facts about the elections, and why they are important. Factbox: The key issues in India’s upcoming state elections | Reuters

ISRAEL – PALESTINE

Gaza protests over Palestinians killed by Israeli fire in Nablus. Maram Humaid, Al JazeeraPalestinian factions in Gaza have held a mourning march for three Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, with protesters condemning the killings as a “crime” and criticising the Palestinian Authority (PA) for cooperating with Israel on security. Dozens of people took part in the march in central Gaza City on Wednesday, a day after Israeli forces in a civilian vehicle reportedly opened fire on a car in the Nablus’s al-Makhfieh neighbourhood, killing three Palestinians identified as Ashraf Mubaslat, Adham Mabrouka and Muhammad Dakhil. Gaza protests over Palestinians killed by Israeli fire in Nablus | Gaza News | Al Jazeera

KOREAS

New N. Korea nuclear, ICBM testing would trigger instant crisis, S.Korea’s Moon says. Josh Smith, Reuters: A resumption of North Korea’s nuclear weapon or long-range missile tests would “instantly” send the peninsula back into crisis, outgoing South Korean President Moon Jae-in said this week, calling for measures to prevent that from happening. New N. Korea nuclear, ICBM testing would trigger instant crisis, S.Korea’s Moon says | Reuters

LAOS – CHINA – RUSSIA

China and Russia position themselves for Laos’ fast-approaching post-LDC era. Kathryn Sweet, East Asia Forum: Despite closed international borders and rolling lockdowns due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic moved closer to its dreams of developmentalist modernity. A new five-year domestic political cycle was initiated, and international cooperation with old and new friends accompanied key development breakthroughs for Laos. China and Russia position themselves for Laos’ fast-approaching post-LDC era | East Asia Forum

PALESTINE

Abbas accused of power grab after Palestinian appointments. Jehad Barakat, Al JazeeraMajor Palestinian groups have slammed new appointments to top positions in the PLO as illegitimate and an attempt to entrench the power of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and secure the 86-year-old’s favoured successor. The Palestinian Central Council (PCC) announced the appointments to the Palestine Liberation Organization – an umbrella organisation of Palestinian political parties – after a two-day meeting on February 6 and 7 in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah. Abbas accused of power grab after Palestinian appointments | Occupied West Bank News | Al Jazeera

PERU

Peru’s leftist government will embrace free market, says new PM. Reuters: The latest prime minister picked by Peru’s embattled president, Pedro Castillo, pledged to pursue free-market policies in his first public remarks on Wednesday, a day after a new Cabinet was unveiled that aims for stability in the Andean nation. Peru’s leftist government will embrace free market, says new PM | Reuters

RUSSIA – BELARUS

New Belarus-Russia Military Doctrine 2021 and Allied Resolve 2022 (Part One). Roger McDermott, The Jamestown Foundation: Russia’s conventional Armed Forces have deployed approximately 30,000 personnel to Belarus for the joint strategic-operational military exercise Allied Resolve (Soyuznaya Reshimost) 2022, scheduled for February 10–20, by far eclipsing any previous deployment to the country since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 (see EDM, January 26February 2). While the exercise occurs in the context of the Russian force buildup in proximity to Ukraine’s borders, its political-military significance is better understood in reference to the Russia-Belarus Union State Military Doctrine (Voyennaya Doktrina Soyuznogo Gosudarstva), signed into law on November 4, 2021, and publicly released ahead of Allied Resolve 2022. The new Union State Military Doctrine reveals the underlying defense planning and military thought concerning the shifts in the threat landscape, the issue of Russia’s nuclear deterrence linked to protecting Belarus, and the doctrinal basis for the Russian deployments for Allied Resolve 2022 (Union State Military Doctrine, November 4, 2021). New Belarus-Russia Military Doctrine 2021 and Allied Resolve 2022 (Part One) – Jamestown

RUSSIA – UKRAINE

Ex-Russian separatists on whether another Ukraine war is possible. Niko Vorobyov, Al JazeeraFyodor, a middle-aged Russian man, pulls out his phone from his pocket and scrolls through photos of himself and several others in camouflage fatigues. They are holding up assault rifles and machineguns next to the white, blue and red of a Russian flag decorated with the emblem of their unit, a sword-and-shield with an Orthodox cross. Ex-Russian separatists on whether another Ukraine war is possible | Ukraine-Russia crisis News | Al Jazeera

SENEGAL

Celebrations unlikely to last long in Macky Sall’s Senegal. Amat Jeng, Al Jazeera: Senegal erupted into celebration on Sunday night after its football team defeated Egypt and won the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). A day later, hundreds of thousands of ecstatic fans treated the newly crowned champions to a hero’s welcome in Dakar, blowing vuvuzelas, chanting slogans and dancing in the capital’s streets. Celebrations unlikely to last long in Macky Sall’s Senegal | Opinions | Al Jazeera

SLOVAKIA – USA

New deal will let US forces use two Slovakian air bases for a decade, Defense NewsSlovakia’s parliament and president on Wednesday approved a defense military treaty with the United States. The Defense Cooperation Agreement passed 79-60 in the 150-seat legislature in a vote split between lawmakers from the four-party ruling coalition and the opposition. New deal will let US forces use two Slovakian air bases for a decade (defensenews.com)

SOMALIA

Somalia hit by worst drought crisis in a decade: NGO. Al JazeeraSomalia is experiencing its worst drought crisis in a decade, with millions going hungry and many being forced from their homes in search of food and water, according to a new report by Save the Children. The international charity’s latest humanitarian assessment, which surveyed more than 12,000 people in 15 of Somalia’s 18 regions, said on Thursday the majority of families were going without meals on a regular basis. Somalia hit by worst drought crisis in a decade: NGO | Drought News | Al Jazeera

TURKEY

Turkey’s own Atmaca missile to replace Harpoons on its Navy ships. Burak Ege Bekdil, Defense News: Turkey’s first indigenous anti-ship cruise missile, the Atmaca, will replace the country’s aging inventory of American-made Harpoon missiles, military and industry sources said. “We are confident of a smooth substitution over the next years,” a Navy officer said. “The effort covers all combat ships in our inventory.”. Turkey’s own Atmaca missile to replace Harpoons on its Navy ships (defensenews.com)

USA

The Army’s New Decades-Long Climate Strategy Has No Budget. Elizabeth Howe, Defense NewsThe Army’s new climate strategy includes plans for an all-electric vehicle fleet and calls for microgrids on all of its 130 installations, but no estimates for what everything will cost.  “We’re working through the funding,” Paul Farnan, the acting assistant secretary for Army installations, energy, and environment told reporters on Wednesday. And as technologies “mature and develop,” the funding will continue to be a “moving target.”. The Army’s New Decades-Long Climate Strategy Has No Budget – Defense One

FBI: Ransomware Attackers Are Taking Aim at Critical Infrastructure. Mariam Baksh, Defense One: Cyber attackers who hold a victim’s system hostage by encrypting its data until their demands are met may be laying off “big game” in the U.S., but they’ve been working on code that could threaten a lot more real-world damage against those they do choose to target, according to a joint advisory from the FBI and domestic and international partner agencies. FBI: Ransomware Attackers Are Taking Aim at Critical Infrastructure – Defense One

New Operating System Aims to Speed AI to the Battlefield. Brandi Vincent, Defense One: The Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center recently started building a joint operating system and integration layer that combatant commands and other military components could eventually use to rapidly make and field artificial intelligence algorithms. New Operating System Aims to Speed AI to the Battlefield – Defense One

US Army improving how it tests its tactical network. Mark Pomerlau, Defense NewsLearning from the fielding of the first iteration of its modernized network kit, the U.S. Army is maturing the way it tests its tactical network. The Army has adopted an incremental, multiyear strategy to modernize its network and deliver new capabilities to soldiers. These service plans to field new “capability sets” with upgraded technologies every two years, each one building on the last. Capability Set ‘21 focused on infantry brigades, with Capability Set ‘23 focusing on Stryker brigades and Capability Set ‘25 focused on armored brigades. US Army improving how it tests its tactical network (defensenews.com)

Pentagon taps Bloomberg to head Defense Innovation Board. Joe Gould, Defense NewsFormer New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been named chairman of the Defense Innovation Board, which is part of the latest tranche of Pentagon advisory boards Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is restarting. Bloomberg, a philanthropist and cofounder of Bloomberg, served as mayor from 2002 to 2013. He succeeds Mark Sirangelo, the former head of Sierra Nevada’s space business, who was named during the Trump administration. Pentagon taps Bloomberg to head Defense Innovation Board (defensenews.com)

Federal and military users can now track potential terrorist activities with an app. Nathan Strout, Defense NewsThe National Counterterrorism Center has a new mobile app that lets users access the latest unclassified intelligence on potential terrorist activities. The first-of-its-kind app, aCTknowledge, gives federal and military personnel a “onestop shop for counterterroism analysis,” the center said. That includes unclassified reports, breaking alerts, analysis and training resources. The National Counterterrorism Center designed the new app to help deliver the latest intelligence directly to first responders and law enforcement officers. Federal and military users can now track potential terrorist activities with an app (defensenews.com)

US Army’s delayed battle command system begins operational testing. Jen Judson, Defense NewsSoftware deficiencies prevented the U.S. Army from beginning its critical initial operational test of its Integrated Battle Command System last fall, but it is now underway ahead of a full-rate production decision due at year’s end, the service’s program office told Defense News. The Northrop Grumman-developed IBCS, which has cost the Army roughly $2.7 billion in development funding, is intended to link sensors and shooters across the battlefield. US Army’s delayed battle command system begins operational testing (defensenews.com)

US Army network modernization sets the stage for JADC2. Mark Pomerlau, Defense NewsThe U.S. Army’s incremental approach to network modernization is producing results, inching the service closer to the Pentagon’s vision of being able to connect sensors and shooters across the force. The Army has adopted a multiyear strategy involving the incremental development and delivery of new capabilities to its integrated tactical network. Those “capability sets” now provide technologies to units every two years, each building upon the previous delivery. Capability Set ‘21 was primarily designed for infantry brigades; Capability Set ‘23 is focused on Stryker brigades, and Capability Set ‘25 is focused on armored brigades. US Army network modernization sets the stage for JADC2 (defensenews.com)

Demilitarize civilian cyber defense, and you’ll gain deterrence. Jan Kallberg, Defense News: U.S. Defense Department cyber units are incrementally becoming a part of the response to ransomware and system intrusions orchestrated from foreign soil. But diverting the military capabilities to augment national civilian cyber defense gaps is an unsustainable and strategically counterproductive policy. Demilitarize civilian cyber defense, and you’ll gain deterrence (defensenews.com)

Space Force missile-warning sensor passes environmental test. Courtney Albon, Defense NewsOne of the U.S. Space Force’s next-generation missile warning sensor payloads just met a key testing milestone. The Raytheon Technologies-developed sensor, which will fly on at least one of the first three Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared geostationary satellites, completed thermal vacuum testing in late January, according to the company. Space Force missile-warning sensor passes environmental test (defensenews.com)

Air Force eyes contract for AWACS replacement in 2023. Stephen Losey, Defense NewsThe Air Force said this week a contract to buy a replacement for the aging E-3G Sentry — also known as the AWACS, or Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft — could come in fiscal 2023. According to a request for information released Tuesday, the service wants to know within 30 days how a potential contractor would deliver at least two prototype aircraft to replace the AWACS, including ground support and training systems, within five years of an expected 2023 award. Air Force eyes contract for AWACS replacement in 2023 (defensenews.com)

For the first time, the government published monthly unemployment data on Native Americans, and the picture is stark. Robert MaximRandall Akee, and Gabriel R. Sanchez, Brookings: Last week’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) jobs report delivered a burst of good news, with the U.S. economy adding 470,000 jobs in January and revised data from the November and December reports  showing that over 700,000 more jobs were added at the end of 2021 than initially estimatedDespite an optimistic jobs report, new data shows Native American unemployment remains staggeringly high (brookings.edu)

USA – PACIFIC

With Blinken in Pacific, Marshall Islands says talks on U.S. military access ‘stalled’. David Brunnstom, Michael Martina, ReutersEven as America’s top diplomat visits the Pacific region seeking to counter China’s growing power and influence, the Washington ambassador of the tiny Marshall Islands said talks aimed at renewing agreements covering access for the U.S. military have stalled. With Blinken in Pacific, Marshall Islands says talks on U.S. military access ‘stalled’ | Reuters

USA – SAUDI ARABIA

Biden, Saudi king discuss energy supplies, Iran and Yemen. , Reuters: U.S. President Joe Biden and King Salman of Saudi Arabia discussed energy supplies in the face of soaring fuel prices and developments in the Middle East, including Iran and Yemen, in a telephone call on Wednesday. Biden, Saudi king discuss energy supplies, Iran and Yemen | Reuters

BIOMETRIC IDENTIFICATION SYSTEMS

The enduring risks posed by biometric identification systems. Kelsey Atherton, Brookings: Biometric identification systems record immutable personal characteristics in a machine-readable format. When used by governments, they can solve a hard problem: verifying personal identity in a way that cannot be faked. But in doing so, these systems create risks for the people whose data is collected, ranging from how the data is stored to what happens if the collecting agency is not in ultimate possession of the data. The enduring risks posed by biometric identification systems (brookings.edu)

The Global Eye is published in cooperation with The Science of Where Magazine