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

Open newsletter – march 10, 2022 a.m.

CHINA

  • The rise of China as a global actor has sparked debate in the West over its nature and ultimate wider strategic political and military ambitions, including in the maritime and outer space domains. As global commons, these shared international spaces lie beyond the national jurisdiction of states and are governed by international treaties and frameworks. The potential economic and strategic benefits that lie within these two global commons are immense and, as technological advancements enable greater exploitation, have challenged existing frameworks and the rules that govern these spaces. The debate around how these spaces should be governed in the future, and the extent to which they should be conserved, therefore crucially includes the role that China plays and the norms that it is advocating. Veerle Nouwens – RUSI – A Transatlantic Approach to China in the Global Commons

CHINA – SAUDI ARABIA

CYBER SECURITY

NORTH KOREA

  • The international community widely perceives North Korea to possess an offensive chemical weapons (CW) programme. However, detailed understanding and analytical assessment of its status, scope and scale is lacking, especially in the public domain. Although North Korea is notorious for being a hard target to assess, there are an increasing number of open source and commercially available tools – such as higher-resolution satellite imagery and remote sensing technologies – that researchers have used to gather data to inform assessments of North Korea’s nuclear weapons activities. However, the applicability and usefulness of these tools being applied to support critical assessment of a CW programme remains underexplored. Cristina Varriale and Sarah Clapham – RUSI – Remote Assessment of North Korea’s Chemical Weapons: Feasible or Not?

PHILIPPINES – TURKEY

RUSSIA – UKRAINE (reactions, impact, consequences)

  • The fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine means that Afghanistan’s dire humanitarian and economic situation could worsen as food prices soar and foreign aid is diverted to help refugees in Europe. U.S. sanctions on Russian companies, growing supply chain issues and shifting global interest to Ukraine could compound the hunger crisis in Afghanistan, which has deepened since the Taliban toppled the U.S.-backed government last year. “It’s potentially apocalyptic,” said Graeme Smith, a senior consultant for the International Crisis Group. “A huge surge in food prices could really tip Afghanistan over the edge.”. More than half of Afghanistan’s population is currently not eating enough, according to the World Food Program, a United Nations agency. And one of the worst droughts in years has exacerbated Afghanistan’s hunger crisis. But the problem is not so much a lack of food as it is the ability to pay for it. Fluctuating border restrictions, ever-rising import costs and a cash shortage spurred by U.S. sanctions on the new Taliban government, have, in some cases, doubled or tripled the price of basic necessities in Afghanistan in the past year. Aqa Gul, an international trader based in Kabul, said that following Russia’s invasion, the prices of certain imported items such as milk biscuits and soap have climbed 10 percent. Nooruddin Zaker Ahmadi, the director of Bashir Nawid complex, a large import company in Afghanistan, said cooking oil prices have gone up 40 percent because of the war in Ukraine. Fuel prices have also climbed. The price hike on basic commodities has been especially alarming at the World Food Program, which hopes to deliver cash, wheat and other necessities to the approximately 23 million Afghans in need of some kind of food assistance. But with the increasing cost of essentials such as wheat and cooking oil, the W.F.P. will likely need an additional several million dollars on top of its $1.6 billion funding shortfall, from donors, said Hsiaowei Lee, the U.N. agency’s deputy country director for Afghanistan. Thomas Gibbons-Neff – The New York Times 
  • President Biden’s State of the Union address, which called for the rest of the world to emerge stronger than Russia out of the Ukraine crisis, captures well an actual American strategy. The outcome of the crisis remains unknown, but the rules-based international collective security order, under American leadership, has done tolerably well in response so far. Still, the extraordinary economic and diplomatic isolation of Moscow, and beefing up of NATO’s eastern defenses, cannot guarantee that Russia will not eventually overrun Ukraine and create, with millions of Ukrainian refugees, an enormous financial crisis for the U.S. and European states. Ukrainians almost certainly will mount an insurgency, but while that will drive Moscow’s costs up, it is unlikely to force Russia to withdraw anytime soon. James Jeffrey – Defense One – Put US Boots in Ukraine to Defend a UN-Approved Security Zone
  • No one knows how far Russia’s Vladimir Putin will push his brutal attack on Ukraine. Western commentators initially assumed that Putin would allow the existence of a Ukrainian state, minus the Donbas, under a puppet government once Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Mariupol are conquered; Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy executed; and a wide coastal corridor between Crimea and Donbas region established. But after a March 3 call with Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron warned that the “the worst is yet to come” and that Putin’s objective is to take all of Ukraine and obliterate the nation. Just days later, Putin threatened to end Ukrainian statehood unless resistance stops. Sam J. Tangredi – Defense One – Establish a Zone of Peace in Western Ukraine
  • Britain has stepped up its supply of weapons to the Ukrainian military, adding Starstreak anti-air missiles to a list that already includes significant numbers of anti-tank weapons. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told lawmakers Mar. 9 that the government was “exploring” the supply of Starstreak but later confirmed that the decision had already been taken in principle to provide the Thales UK-built, short-range weapon. Andrew Chuter – Defense News – Britain mulls giving ‘Starstreak’ air-defense weapons to Ukraine

  • War between Turkey’s two Black Sea partners has given an unexpected jolt to the country’s quest for new fighter jets and its domestic program to make new-generation aircraft. “The war has practically killed all potential Turkish-Russian deals in strategic weapons systems,” said a senior Turkish diplomat, who deals with NATO and security affairs and was not authorized to speak to the press. “This will be a de facto part of our proactive neutrality.” – Burak Ege Bekdil – Defense News – Russian invasion of Ukraine is reviving Euro-Turkish fighter efforts

  • Following its unconscionable invasion of Ukraine, Russia has appallingly chosen to cast a nuclear shadow over the already unimaginable situation it created. While this is likely an ill-advised attempt to broadcast Russian strength as its invasion of Ukraine proceeds at a much less successful pace than he expected, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s irresponsible nuclear rhetoric and posturing are highly provocative and unprecedented. Russia’s brandishing of its nuclear capabilities when its security is not threatened is further evidence of an unsafe security environment that requires a continued commitment to a strong American nuclear deterrent. Doug Lamborn – Defense News – In the wake of Russia’s invasion, the US must refocus on nuclear deterrence

  • Some Russian federal agencies’ websites were compromised in a supply chain attack, threat actors compromised the stats widget used to track the number of visitors by several government agencies. Threat actors were able to deface the websites and block access to them. Pierluigi Paganini – Security Affairs – Multiple Russia government websites hacked in a supply chain attack
  • It seems a lifetime ago, but in March 2021 the UK government published its Global Britain in a Competitive Age white paper, known colloquially as the Integrated Review. The inference behind the notion of integration was that the UK’s security, defence, development and foreign policy assets would act in concert and not in isolation from one another. As the only CEO of a major UK NGO who has also served in the Army, I welcomed the prospect that some of these barriers might be broken down. Major General (Retd) James Cowan CBE DSO – RUSI – The Ukrainian Crisis and the Integrated Review
  • Russia’s war in Ukraine has been marked by its apparent lack of coordination and an ostensibly flawed plan. Russian forces have been observed moving deep into Ukraine, only to be cut off by a lack of fuel, vehicle breakdowns, and ultimately Ukrainian forces. Open-source intelligence and Ukrainian reports suggest that radio communications across the Russian forces are poor, leading to makeshift solutions including the use of unencrypted high frequency (HF) radio for long-range communications and mobile phones to communicate. Sam Cranny-Evans and Thomas Withington – RUSI – Russian Comms in Ukraine: A World of Hertz | Royal United Services Institute (rusi.org)
  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine reflects a failure of diplomatic endeavour in near impossible circumstances. Russia now finds itself an international pariah, President Putin is effectively an outlaw and European security is reeling. Diplomacy needs to resume quickly to chart a route out of the crisis and restore stability to a continent whose security landscape has changed dramatically. Peter Jones CMG – RUSI – Diplomacy’s End?

TECHNOLOGY

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have improved rapidly over the past decade, largely driven by advances in machine learning, which is closely related to data science and statistical prediction.[2] Several aspects of the health care system involve prediction, including diagnosis, treatment, administration, and operations. This connection between machine learning’s capabilities and needs of the health care system has led to widespread speculation that AI will have a large impact on health care. Avi Goldfarb and Florenta Teodoridis – Brookings – Why is AI adoption in health care lagging?

USA

  • Did the Federal Reserve wait too long to raise interest rates to restrain inflation?  Is the Fed’s new monetary policy framework working out as the Fed hoped it would? What are the biggest monetary policy challenges that the Fed faces in the next couple of years? David Wessel – Brookings – Three experts on the monetary policy challenges the Fed now faces
  • New bipartisan legislation focused on providing cellular and Internet connectivity in war zones was unveiled on Tuesday as U.S. lawmakers continue to respond to Russia’s war on Ukraine. Sponsored by Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., the Safely Accessing Telecommunications Act would allow the U.S. Departments of Defense and State to contract telecommunications companies to help provide internet and broadband access to regions in conflict. Alexandra Kelley – Nextgov –  New Bipartisan Bill Would Allow U.S. Govt To Provide Internet In War Zones

  • The House of Representatives’ Committee on Homeland Security advanced several new bills to the chamber floor late Tuesday, including one that focuses on training the public sector workforce on best practices in cybersecurity. Along with three other bills, the House committee passed the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium Act of 2021. First introduced by Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas., and Patrick Leahy, D-VT, the bill passed the Senate on March 7 in a 403-19 vote. Alexandra Kelley – Nextgov – House Committee Approves Cybersecurity Training Bill
  • The Navy is planning to submit to Congress a new 30-year shipbuilding plan with its fiscal 2023 budget request that once again is short on details, despite negative reactions when they did the same thing last year. Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro said the maritime service is intentionally leaving its long-term plans vague to give “decision space” for leaders to meet unknown threats and needs that may arise. Critics, including top Republicans, have panned the move for preventing lawmakers from being able to critique the Biden administration’s plans. Del Toro said he favors transparency and clear definition of the Navy’s plans one decade out, but questioned the benefit of speculating too far into the future. Caitlin M. Kenney – Defense One – Navy’s New 30-Year Shipbuilding Plan Will Avoid Details–Again

  • The Pentagon could need more than the extra $5 billion it already asked Congress to approve if its mission supporting the Ukrainian military with weapons and equipment and helping secure NATO’s border in Eastern Europe continues, a top defense official said. “I do believe that we will probably need additional funding at DOD for this,” Pentagon Comptroller Mike McCord said Wednesday at the McAleese and Associates defense programs conference in Washington. Marcus Weisgerber – Defense One – Pentagon Could Need More Cash if Ukraine Support, NATO Border Mission Drags On

  • Lawmakers on Wednesday unveiled a $13.6 billion Ukraine aid package that took President Joe Biden’s request for weapons and training for Ukrainian forces and put it on steroids. Part of a sweeping $1.5 trillion measure to fund the federal government, the $13.6 billion package would buy $3 billion in new weapons for Ukraine, instead of the $1.5 billion in new weapons included in Biden’s $10 billion request. It’s a win for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who pleaded with U.S. lawmakers in a Zoom call Saturday for more support as his country fights a Russian invasion. Joe Gould – Defense News – Biden’s Ukraine aid package is getting super-sized by Congress

  • A federal spending package unveiled this week would give the U.S. Navy significantly more funding for ships and aircraft, after many lawmakers complained the Navy didn’t request enough money last spring. Ahead of a looming government shutdown later this week, the House of Representatives is voting on an omnibus spending package that includes $728.5 billion in military spending for the year, or 5.6% more for fiscal 2022 than was passed for FY21. The Senate would take up the bill following passage in the House. Megan Eckstein – Defense News – Spending bill would add five ships, 12 Super Hornets to Navy acquisition plans
  • The Pentagon’s effort to better connect sensors to shooters and shuttle data across the joint forces is inextricably linked with the high-stakes communication systems needed for nuclear warfare, and rightly so, the head of U.S. Strategic Command told Congress this week. A “great extent” of overlap between Joint All-Domain Command and Control, JADC2, and Nuclear Command, Control and Communications, NC3, is necessary for integration and other reasons, Adm. Charles Richard said March 8. Colin Demarest –  Defense News – How JADC2 is improving nuclear command and control

USA – POLAND