Informal Institute for National Security Thinkers and Practitioners


Quotes of the Day:

"Democracy arises out of the notion that those who are equal in any respect are equal in all respects; because men are equally free, they claim to be absolutely equal."
- Aristotle

"In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man; if you want anything done, ask a woman."
- Margaret Thatcher

"Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule — and both commonly succeed, and are right."
- H.L. Mencken




1. Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 11 (PUTIN'S WAR)
2. Finland's leaders say country "must apply for NATO membership without delay"
3. Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning and the Future of National Security
4. Marine Colonel in Ukraine explains where US aid is falling short
5. Training, Logistics Snafus Show How US Advisors Could Help Ukraine, Volunteers Say
6. Why American veterans are dropping everything to train Ukrainians
7. Female Instructors Now Train SEAL and SWCC Candidates | SOF News
8. Why Ukraine’s undersized military is resisting supposedly superior Russian forces
9. Austin Says 2023 Budget Built on New Defense Strategy
10. Within FY23 Budget Request, Three Approaches Help DOD Meet Defense Strategy
11. DOD’s Pacific Plans Aren't Scaled Back to Finance Ukraine Aid, Say Austin and Milley
12. Bombshell health claim about Chinese president Xi Jinping
13. Intelligence-sharing with Ukraine designed to prevent wider war
14. Russia says Finnish entry to NATO poses threat to which it will respond
15. COVID claims 1 million U.S. lives
16. The World Should Be Worried About a Dictator’s Son's Apparent Win in the Philippines
17. Nominee says no strings attached in humanitarian assistance to North Korea
18. Exploring the Civil-Military Divide over Artificial Intelligence
19. Russia suffers heavy losses in failed Donbas river crossing
20. 50 years after return, Okinawa's strategic importance grows for U.S.
21. How Starlink Scrambled to Keep Ukraine Online
22. Building a Cyber Force Is Even Harder Than You Thought
23. FDD | IRGC-Controlled Iranian Airline Makes Unexplained Flights to Russia Amidst Invasion of Ukraine
24. The War in Ukraine Will Be a Historic Turning Point
25. World War II Is All That Putin Has Left
26. The Secret War for Germany: CIA’s Covert Role in Cold War Berlin Explored through Recently Declassified Documents





1.Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 11 (PUTIN'S WAR)

RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN ASSESSMENT, MAY 11
May 11, 2022 - Press ISW

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 11
Karolina Hird, Mason Clark, and George Barros
May 11, 5:30pm ET

Russian forces did not make any significant advances anywhere in Ukraine on May 11, and Ukrainian forces took further ground northeast of Kharkiv. The Ukrainian counteroffensive north of Kharkiv City has forced Russian troops onto the defensive and necessitated reinforcement and replenishment efforts intended to prevent further Ukrainian advances towards the Russian border. Russian efforts along the Southern Axis and in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts remain similarly stalled, and Russian forces have not made any significant gains in the face of continued successful Ukrainian defenses.
Key Takeaways
  • The Ukrainian counteroffensive north of Kharkiv City has forced Russian troops onto the defensive and has successfully alleviated artillery pressure on Kharkiv City.
  • Russian forces continued efforts to encircle Ukrainian positions in the Severodonetsk-Rubizhne-Lysychansk area but did not make any confirmed advances.
  • Russian forces may be initiating a new advance towards Bakhmut after capturing Popasna in order to secure highway access north to Slovyansk.
  • Russian forces are attempting to consolidate their positions in western Kherson Oblast to push into Mykolaiv Oblast.
  • Pro-Russian Telegram sources reported Ukrainian forces may be conducting a counterattack 40km north of Izyum to cut off Russian units in this key town, though ISW cannot confirm these reports at this time.

We do not report in detail on Russian war crimes because those activities are well-covered in Western media and do not directly affect the military operations we are assessing and forecasting. We will continue to evaluate and report on the effects of these criminal activities on the Ukrainian military and population and specifically on combat in Ukrainian urban areas. We utterly condemn these Russian violations of the laws of armed conflict, Geneva Conventions, and humanity even though we do not describe them in these reports.
ISW has updated its assessment of the five primary efforts Russian forces are engaged in at this time:
  • Main effort—Eastern Ukraine (comprised of one subordinate and four supporting efforts);
  • Subordinate main effort- Encirclement of Ukrainian troops in the cauldron between Izyum and Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts
  • Supporting effort 1 — Mariupol;
  • Supporting effort 2—Kharkiv City;
  • Supporting effort 3—Southern axis;
  • Supporting effort 4—Sumy and northeastern Ukraine.
Main effort—Eastern Ukraine
Subordinate Main Effort— Southern Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk Oblasts (Russian objective: Encircle Ukrainian forces in Eastern Ukraine and capture the entirety of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, the claimed territory of Russia’s proxies in Donbas)
Russian forces fired at Ukrainian positions around Izyum but did not make any confirmed advances on May 11. The Ukrainian General Staff stated that elements of the Russian Airborne Forces (VDV), 1st Guards Tank Army, 20th, 29th, 35th, and 36th Combined Arms Armies, and 68th Army Corps focused on inflicting fire damage on Ukrainian troops around Izyum.[1] The Deputy Chief of the Ukrainian General Staff’s Main Operations Department, Brigadier General Oleksiy Gromov, additionally stated that Russian forces have moved to defense and deterrence actions around Izyum due to the successful Ukrainian defense.[2] Pro-Russian media outlet Readkova noted that Ukrainian forces are attempting to cross the Severskyi Donets River by Chepil (about 40 kilometers northwest of Izyum) to cut off Russian ground supply lines to Izyum, although ISW cannot independently confirm this claim.[3]
Russian forces continued ground offensives westward in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts on May 11. Russian troops continued attempts to encircle the Rubizhne-Severodonetsk-Lysychansk area and Ukrainian sources reported intense fighting in Severodonetsk, Lysychansk, Rubizhne, Bilohorivka, Vojevodivka, Nyzhnie, Toshkivka, and Orikhove.[4] Russian forces are also likely preparing for a new line of advance towards Bakhmut, about 50 kilometers southeast of Slovyansk, along the M03 highway.[5] Head of Luhansk Regional State Administration Serhiy Haidai stated that Russian forces are firing on the road that runs between Lysychansk and Bakhmut to interdict Ukrainian troops, which is consistent with claims made by a Russian war reporter that Russian forces are developing an offensive towards Bakhmut.[6] Bakhmut lies just west of Popasna and the Donetsk-Luhansk Oblast border, which Russian forces reportedly crossed on May 10.[7] The move towards Bakhmut is likely intended to gain access to the M03 highway and continue the northwestward push towards Slovyansk. Russian forces continued unsuccessful ground assaults around Donetsk City, as they have for the last several days.[8]

Supporting Effort #1—Mariupol (Russian objective: Capture Mariupol and reduce the Ukrainian defenders)
Russian forces continued to conduct ground attacks against Ukrainian positions in the Azovstal Steel Plant with the support of air and artillery strikes on May 11.[9] The Azov Regiment stated that Russian forces launched 38 airstrikes and 4 strategic bombing flights on Azovstal in the last 24 hours.[10]
Advisor to the Mayor of Mariupol Petro Andryushchenko claimed that Russian authorities are deporting those who are deemed to be “suspicious” during filtration measures in Mariupol to a detention camp in Olenivka, Donetsk Oblast.[11] Andryushchenko compared the facility to a concentration camp and stated that detainees are subject to overcrowding, atrocious conditions, mass interrogations, and forced disappearances.[12] ISW cannot independently confirm these claims, but they are fully in line with previously reported Russian ”filtration” measures in occupied Ukraine.


Supporting Effort #2—Kharkiv City (Russian objective: Retain positions on the outskirts of Kharkiv within artillery range of the city and prevent further Ukrainian counterattacks)
Russian forces moved to the defensive in order to prevent further advances north to the Russian border by the ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive around Kharkiv City on May 11.[13] Pro-Russian media outlet Readkova reported that Ukrainian forces are preparing for an offensive in Kozacha Lopan and Tsupivka, both within 10 kilometers of the international border, confirming reports from May 10 that Ukrainian forces had advanced to within 10 kilometers of the Russian border.[14] The Ukrainian General Staff reported that elements of the Russian 6th and 41st Combined Arms Armies and coastal units of the Baltic and Northern Fleets are conducting reconnaissance against Ukrainian positions in northern Kharkiv to stymie further advances.[15] The General Staff statement notably does not mention the Russian 1st Guards Tank Army, which was active in the area as of May 8.[16] If confirmed, this may indicate that elements of the 1st Guards Tank Army withdrew to Belgorod to reconstitute and refit following losses sustained around Kharkiv City. Head of the Kharkiv Regional State Administration Oleg Synegubov noted that artillery pressure against the northeastern suburbs of Kharkiv City has been alleviated, indicating Ukrainian forces have successfully driven Russian forces largely out of artillery range of Kharkiv City.[17]

Supporting Effort #3—Southern Axis (Objective: Defend Kherson against Ukrainian counterattacks)
Russian forces continued to shell Ukrainian positions along the Southern Axis but did not make any confirmed advances on May 11.[18] The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces are attempting to take control of Bruskynske and Velyka Oleksandrivka to improve their tactical position in the South.[19] These settlements lie within 15 kilometers of the Kherson-Mykolaiv border and would likely allow Russian troops to conduct offensive actions towards Mykolaiv. The UK Ministry of Defense stated that Russian troops are likely trying to reinforce their garrison on Snake Island off the coast of Odesa for increased access to the northwestern Black Sea.[20] The situation in Transnistria remains tense but unchanged.[21]


Supporting Effort #4—Sumy and Northeastern Ukraine: (Russian objective: Withdraw combat power in good order for redeployment to eastern Ukraine)
There were no significant events on this axis in the past 24 hours.
Immediate items to watch
  • The Belarusian Defense Ministry announced the second stage of rapid response force exercises, but Belarus remains unlikely to join the war in Ukraine.
  • Russian forces will likely continue to merge offensive efforts southward of Izyum with westward advances from Donetsk in order to encircle Ukrainian troops in southern Kharkiv Oblast and Western Donetsk.
  • Russia is likely setting conditions to integrate occupied Ukrainian territories directly into Russia, as opposed to creating proxy “People’s Republics.”
  • Russian forces have apparently decided to seize the Azovstal plant through ground assault and will likely continue operations accordingly.
  • Ukrainian counteroffensives around Kharkiv City are pushing back Russian positions northeast of the city towards the international border and will likely continue to force the Russians to reinforce those positions at the cost of reinforcing Russian offensive operations elsewhere.
  • Russian forces may be preparing to conduct renewed offensive operations to capture the entirety of Kherson Oblast in the coming days.
[2] https://armyinform.com dot ua/2022/05/11/na-izyumskomu-napryamku-vorog-perejshov-do-oborony-i-vede-strymuyuchi-diyi/
[3] https://t dot me/readovkanews/33494
[6] https://t dot me/epoddubny/10551; https://t dot me/luhanskaVTSA/2484
[9] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/314771530835932https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/314387997540952; https://t dot me/andriyshTime/807; https://t dot me/andriyshTime/800; https://t.me/istorijaoruzija/62747; https://tass dot ru/mezhdunarodnaya-panorama/14595337
[10] https://t dot me/polkazov/4482
[11] https://t dot me/andriyshTime/818; https://t dot me/andriyshTime/819
[12] https://t dot me/andriyshTime/818; https://t dot me/andriyshTime/819
[13] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/314771530835932https://armyinform.com dot ua/2022/05/11/vtraty-voroga-z-pochatku-tak-zvanoyi-speczialnoyi-operacziyi-stanovlyat-blyzko-20-osobovogo-skladu/; https://t dot me/readovkanews/33494; https://armyinform.com dot ua/2022/05/11/na-izyumskomu-napryamku-vorog-perejshov-do-oborony-i-vede-strymuyuchi-diyi/
[17] https://t dot me/synegubov/3162
[18] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/314387997540952; https://t dot me/zoda_gov_ua/7642; https://t dot me/zoda_gov_ua/7629; https://t.me/istorijaoruzija/62695https://t.me/zoda_gov_ua/7617; https://t dot me/dnipropetrovskaODA/885; https://t dot me/mykola_lukashuk/448; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/314771530835932



2. Finland's leaders say country "must apply for NATO membership without delay"


Blowback due to the miscalculation of Putin's War.

Finland's leaders say country "must apply for NATO membership without delay"
Axios · by Zachary Basu · May 12, 2022
Data: NATO. Map: Thomas Oide/Axios
Finland's president and prime minister announced Thursday that they support an application for NATO membership, setting in motion a process that will culminate in the alliance's ninth enlargement since its founding in 1949.
Why it matters: Finland will more than double the length of NATO's borders with Russia once it is officially admitted into the alliance. Sweden is expected to make an announcement on NATO membership on Sunday. The transformation of Europe's security landscape is a nightmare for Vladimir Putin — but one triggered by his own decision to invade Ukraine.
What they're saying: "Now that the moment of decision-making is near, we state our equal views, also for information to the parliamentary groups and parties," Finland's President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna said in a joint statement.
  • "NATO membership would strengthen Finland’s security. As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the entire defence alliance," they added.
  • "Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay. We hope that the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days."
The big picture: Public support for NATO membership in Finland and Sweden shot up virtually overnight after Russia invaded Ukraine, with a strong majority in both countries now in favor of joining.
  • Both countries have been close NATO partners for three decades, despite their official non-alignment.
  • But the West's refusal to send boots on the ground to defend Ukraine has underscored the difference that NATO's Article V commitment to collective defense — often hailed as "iron-clad" by President Biden — can make in a crisis.
  • "If Ukraine had been part of NATO before the war, there would have been no war," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a speech Wednesday.
Unlike Ukraine, Georgia or Bosnia and Herzegovina, whose membership aspirations have each been recognized by NATO, Finland and Sweden are expected to be admitted to the alliance relatively swiftly once they formally apply.
  • Finland's NATO-compatible military has a wartime strength of 280,000 and 900,000 reservists, in addition to some of the most sophisticated intelligence and cyber capabilities in Europe.
  • Its 800-mile border with Russia, a frontier on which two bloody wars were fought with the Soviet Union from 1939 to 1944, has helped foster a society-wide emphasis on security and "survival," according to Finnish security experts.
  • Sweden, meanwhile, has one of the strongest air forces in Europe, and together with Finland will dramatically bolster NATO's presence in the vulnerable Baltic region.
Between the lines: The "gray zone" period between when Finland and Sweden apply for NATO and are formally admitted is expected to give rise to heightened Russian disinformation, violations of air space and other hybrid threats.
  • Finnish media reports that critical infrastructure companies have been on high alert during "NATO Super Week" in anticipation of cyber attacks.
  • Finland and Sweden have already sought and received security assurances in anticipation of their NATO bid, including from the U.S. and U.K.
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson traveled to both countries on Wednesday to sign "historic declarations" vowing to come to their defense if they're attacked.
What to watch: The timeline for Finland and Sweden's accession will depend on how quickly each of NATO's 30 member states sign off, but the alliance will be well on its way to enlargement by the time of its crucial summit in Madrid on June 29-30.
Axios · by Zachary Basu · May 12, 2022


3. Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning and the Future of National Security

A very thought provoking article: 

Hundreds of billions in public and private capital is being invested in AI and Machine Learning companies. The number of patents filed in 2021 is more than 30 times higher than in 2015 as companies and countries across the world have realized that AI and Machine Learning will be a major disruptor and potentially change the balance of military power. Until recently, the hype exceeded reality. Today, however, advances in AI in several important areas equal and even surpass human capabilities. If you haven’t paid attention, now’s the time.

Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning and the Future of National Security
 
AI is a once-in-a lifetime commercial and defense game changer
 
By Steve Blank
Hundreds of billions in public and private capital is being invested in AI and Machine Learning companies. The number of patents filed in 2021 is more than 30 times higher than in 2015 as companies and countries across the world have realized that AI and Machine Learning will be a major disruptor and potentially change the balance of military power.
 
Until recently, the hype exceeded reality. Today, however, advances in AI in several important areas (herehereherehere and here) equal and even surpass human capabilities. 
 
If you haven’t paid attention, now’s the time.
 
AI and the DoD
The Department of Defense has thought that AI is such a foundational set of technologies that they started a dedicated organization -- the JAIC -- to enable and implement artificial intelligence across the Department. They provide the infrastructure, tools, and technical expertise for DoD users to successfully build and deploy their AI-accelerated projects.
 
Some specific defense-related AI applications are listed later in this document.
 
We’re in the Middle of a Revolution
Imagine it’s 1950, and you’re a visitor who traveled back in time from today. Your job is to explain the impact computers will have on business, defense and society to people who are using manual calculators and slide rules. You succeed in convincing one company and a government to adopt computers and learn to code much faster than their competitors /adversaries. And they figure out how they could digitally enable their business – supply chain, customer interactions, etc. Think about the competitive edge they’d have by today in business or as a nation. They’d steamroll everyone.
 
That’s where we are today with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. These technologies will transform businesses and government agencies. Today, 100s of billions of dollars in private capital have been invested in 1,000s of AI startups. The U.S. Department of Defense has created a dedicated organization to ensure its deployment.
 
But What Is It?
Compared to the classic computing we’ve had for the last 75 years, AI has led to new types of applications, e.g. facial recognition; new types of algorithms, e.g. machine learning; new types of computer architectures, e.g. neural nets; new hardware, e.g. GPUs; new types of software developers, e.g. data scientists; all under the overarching theme of artificial intelligence. The sum of these feels like buzzword bingo. But they herald a sea change in what computers are capable of doing, how they do it, and what hardware and software is needed to do it.
 
This brief will attempt to describe all of it.
 
New Words to Define Old Things
One of the reasons the world of AI/ML is confusing is that it’s created its own language and vocabulary. It uses new words to define programming steps, job descriptions, development tools, etc. But once you understand how the new world maps onto the classic computing world, it starts to make sense. So first a short list of some key definitions.
 
AI/ML - a shorthand for Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning
 
Artificial Intelligence (AI) - a catchall term used to describe “Intelligent machines” which can solve problems, make/suggest decisions and perform tasks that have traditionally required humans to do. AI is not a single thing, but a constellation of different technologies. 
 
Machine Learning (ML) - a subfield of artificial intelligence. Humans combine data with algorithms (see here for a list) to train a model using that data. This trained model can then make predications on new data (is this picture a cat, a dog or a person?) or decision-making processes (like understanding text and images) without being explicitly programmed to do so.
Machine learning algorithms - computer programs that adjust themselves to perform better as they are exposed to more data.
 
The “learning” part of machine learning means these programs change how they process data over time. In other words, a machine-learning algorithm can adjust its own settings, given feedback on its previous performance in making predictions about a collection of data (images, text, etc.).
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Deep Learning/Neural Nets – a subfield of machine learning. Neural networks make up the backbone of deep learning. (The “deep” in deep learning refers to the depth of layers in a neural network.) Neural nets are effective at a variety of tasks (e.g., image classification, speech recognition). A deep learning neural net algorithm is given massive volumes of data, and a task to perform - such as classification. The resulting model is capable of solving complex tasks such as recognizing objects within an image and translating speech in real time. In reality, the neural net is a logical concept that gets mapped onto a physical set of specialized processors. See here.)
Data Science – a new field of computer science. Broadly it encompasses data systems and processes aimed at maintaining data sets and deriving meaning out of them. In the context of AI, it’s the practice of people who are doing machine learning.
 
Data Scientists - responsible for extracting insights that help businesses make decisions. They explore and analyze data using machine learning platforms to create models about customers, processes, risks, or whatever they’re trying to predict.
 
What’s Different? Why is Machine Learning Possible Now?
To understand why AI/Machine Learning can do these things, let’s compare them to computers before AI came on the scene. (Warning – simplified examples below.)
 
Classic Computers

For the last 75 years computers (we’ll call these classic computers) have both shrunk to pocket size (iPhones) and grown to the size of warehouses (cloud data centers), yet they all continued to operate essentially the same way.
Classic Computers - Programming
Classic computers are designed to do anything a human explicitly tells them to do. People (programmers) write software code (programming) to develop applications, thinking a priori about all the rules, logic and knowledge that need to be built in to an application so that it can deliver a specific result. These rules are explicitly coded into a program using a software language (Python, JavaScript, C#, Rust, …).
 
Classic Computers - Compiling
The code is then compiled using software to translate the programmer’s source code into a version that can be run on a target computer/browser/phone. For most of today’s programs, the computer used to develop and compile the code does not have to be that much faster than the one that will run it.
 
Classic Computers - Running/Executing Programs
Once a program is coded and compiled, it can be deployed and run (executed) on a desktop computer, phone, in a browser window, a data center cluster, in special hardware, etc. Programs/applications can be games, social media, office applications, missile guidance systems, bitcoin mining, or even operating systems e.g. Linux, Windows, IOS. These programs run on the same type of classic computer architectures they were programmed in.
 
Classic Computers – Software Updates, New Features
 
For programs written for classic computers, software developers receive bug reports, monitor for security breaches, and send out regular software updates that fix bugs, increase performance and at times add new features.
 
Classic Computers- Hardware
The CPUs (Central Processing Units) that write and run these Classic Computer applications all have the same basic design (architecture). The CPUs are designed to handle a wide range of tasks quickly in a serial fashion. These CPUs range from Intel X86 chips, and the ARM cores on Apple M1 SoC, to the z15 in IBM mainframes.
 
Machine Learning
In contrast to programming on classic computing with fixed rules, machine learning is just like it sounds – we can train/teach a computer to “learn by example” by feeding it lots and lots of examples. (For images a rule of thumb is that a machine learning algorithm needs at least 5,000 labeled examples of each category in order to produce an AI model with decent performance.) Once it is trained, the computer runs on its own and can make predictions and/or complex decisions. 
 
Just as traditional programming has three steps - first coding a program, next compiling it and then running it - machine learning also has three steps: training (teaching), pruning and inference (predicting by itself.)
 
Machine Learning - Training
Unlike programing classic computers with explicit rules, training is the process of “teaching” a computer to perform a task e.g. recognize faces, signals, understand text, etc. (Now you know why you're asked to click on images of traffic lights, cross walks, stop signs, and buses or type the text of scanned image in ReCaptcha.) Humans provide massive volumes of “training data” (the more data, the better the model’s performance) and select the appropriate algorithm to find the best optimized outcome.
(See the detailed “machine learning pipeline” later in this section for the gory details.)
 


 
By running an algorithm selected by a data scientist on a set of training data, the Machine Learning system generates the rules embedded in a trained model. The system learns from examples (training data), rather than being explicitly programmed. (See the “Types of Machine Learning” section for more detail.) This self-correction is pretty cool. An input to a neural net results in a guess about what that input is. The neural net then takes its guess and compares it to a ground-truth about the data, effectively asking an expert “Did I get this right?” The difference between the network’s guess and the ground truth is its error. The network measures that error, and walks the error back over its model, adjusting weights to the extent that they contributed to the error.)
 
Just to make the point again: The algorithms combined with the training data - not external human computer programmers - create the rules that the AI uses. The resulting model is capable of solving complex tasks such as recognizing objects it’s never seen before, translating text or speech, or controlling a drone swarm. 
 
(Instead of building a model from scratch you can now buyfor common machine learning tasks, pretrained models from others and here, much like chip designers buying IP Cores.)
 
Machine Learning Training - Hardware
Training a machine learning model is a very computationally intensive task. AI hardware must be able to perform thousands of multiplications and additions in a mathematical process called matrix multiplication. It requires specialized chips to run fast. (See the AI hardware section for details.)
 
Machine Learning - Simplification via pruning, quantization, distillation
Just like classic computer code needs to be compiled and optimized before it is deployed on its target hardware, the machine learning models are simplified and modified (pruned) to use less computing power, energy, and memory before they’re deployed to run on their hardware.
 
Machine Learning – Inference Phase
Once the system has been trained it can be copied to other devices and run. And the computing hardware can now make inferences (predictions) on new data that the model has never seen before.
 
 
Inference can even occur locally on edge devices where physical devices meet the digital world (routers, sensors, IOT devices), close to the source of where the data is generated. This reduces network bandwidth issues and eliminates latency issues.
 
Machine Learning Inference - Hardware
Inference (running the model) requires substantially less compute power than training. But inference also benefits from specialized AI chips.
 
Machine Learning – Performance Monitoring and Retraining
Just like classic computers where software developers do regular software updates to fix bugs and increase performance and add features, machine learning models also need to be updated regularly by adding new data to the old training pipelines and running them again. Why?
 
Over time machine learning models get stale. Their real-world performance generally degrades over time if they are not updated regularly with new training data that matches the changing state of the world. The models need to be monitored and retrained regularly for data and/or concept drift, harmful predictions, performance drops, etc. To stay up to date, the models need to re-learn the patterns by looking at the most recent data that better reflects reality. 
 
One Last Thing – “Verifiability/Explainability”
Understanding how an AI works is essential to fostering trust and confidence in AI production models.
 
Neural Networks and Deep Learning differ from other types of Machine Learning algorithms in that they have low explainability. They can generate a prediction, but it is very difficult to understand or explain how it arrived at its prediction. This “explainability problem” is often described as a problem for all of AI, but it’s primarily a problem for Neural Networks and Deep Learning. Other types of Machine Learning algorithms – for example decision trees – have very high explainability. The results of the five-year DARPA Explainable AI Program (XAI) are worth reading here.
 
 
So What Can Machine Learning Do?[1]
It’s taken decades but as of today, on its simplest implementations, machine learning applications can do some tasks better and/or faster than humans. Machine Learning is most advanced and widely applied today in processing text (through Natural Language Processing) followed by understanding images and videos (through Computer Vision) and analytics and anomaly detection. For example:
 
Recognize and Understand Text/Natural Language Processing
AI is better than humans on basic reading comprehension benchmarks like SuperGLUE and SQuAD and their performance on complex linguistic tasks is almost there. Applications: GPT-3M6OPT-175BGoogle Translate, Gmail Autocomplete, Chatbots, Text summarization.
 
Write Human-like Answers to Questions and Assist in Writing Computer Code
An AI can write original text that is indistinguishable from that created by humans. Examples GPT-3Wu Dao 2.0 or generate computer code. Example GitHub CopilotWordtune
 
Recognize and Understand Images and video streams
An AI can see and understand what it sees. It can identify and detect an object or a feature in an image or video. It can even identify faces. It can scan news broadcasts or read and assess text that appears in videos. It has uses in threat detection - airport security, banks, and sporting events. And in retail to scan and analyze in-store imagery to intuitively determine inventory movement. Examples of ImageNet benchmarks here and here
 
Detect Changes in Patterns/Recognize Anomalies
An AI can recognize patterns which don’t match the behaviors expected for a particular system, out of millions of different inputs or transactions. These applications can discover evidence of an attack on financial networks, fraud detection in insurance filings or credit card purchases; identify fake reviews; even tag sensor data in industrial facilities that mean there’s a safety issue. Examples herehere and here.
 
 Power Recommendation Engines
 An AI can provide recommendations based on user behaviors used in ecommerce to provide accurate suggestions of products to users for future purchases based on their shopping history. Examples: Alexa and Siri
 
Recognize and Understand Your Voice
An AI can understand spoken language. Then it can comprehend what is being said and in what context. This can enable chatbots to have a conversation with people. It can record and transcribe meetings. (Some versions can even read lips to increase accuracy.) Examples: Siri/Alexa/Google Assistant. Example here
 
Create Artificial Images
AI can ​create artificial ​images​ (DeepFakes) that ​are​ indistinguishable ​from​ real ​ones using Generative Adversarial Networks.​ Useful in ​entertainment​, virtual worlds, gaming, fashion​ design, etc. Synthetic faces are now indistinguishable and more trustworthy than photos of real people. Paper here.
 
Create Artist Quality Illustrations from A Written Description
AI can generate images from text descriptions, creating anthropomorphized versions of animals and objects, combining unrelated concepts in plausible ways. An example is Dall-E
 
Generative Design of Physical Products
Engineers can input design goals into AI-driven generative design software, along with parameters such as performance or spatial requirements, materials, manufacturing methods, and cost constraints. The software explores all the possible permutations of a solution, quickly generating design alternatives Example here
 
Sentiment Analysis
An AI leverages deep natural language processing, text analysis, and computational linguistics to gain insight into customer opinion, understanding of consumer sentiment, and measuring the impact of marketing strategies. Examples: Brand24MonkeyLearn
 
 
 
AI in National Security[2]
Much like the dual-use/dual-nature of classical computers AI developed for commercial applications can also be used for national security.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
AI/ML and Ubiquitous Technical Surveillance
AI/ML have made most cities untenable for traditional tradecraft. Machine learning can integrate travel data (customs, airline, train, car rental, hotel, license plate readers…,) integrate feeds from CCTV cameras for facial recognition and gait recognition, breadcrumbs from wireless devices and then combine it with DNA sampling. The result is automated persistent surveillance.
 
China’s employment of AI as a tool of repression and surveillance of the Uyghurs is a dystopian of how a totalitarian regimes will use AI-enable ubiquitous surveillance to repress and monitor its own populace.
 
AI/ML on the Battlefield
AI will enable new levels of performance and autonomy for weapon systems. Autonomously collaborating assets (e.g., drone swarms, ground vehicles) that can coordinate attacks, ISR missions, & more.
 
Fusing and making sense of sensor data (detecting threats in optical /SAR imagery, classifying aircraft based on radar returns, searching for anomalies in radio frequency signatures, etc.) Machine learning is better and faster than humans in finding targets hidden in a high-clutter background. Automated target detection and fires from satellite/UAV.
 
For example, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or Unmanned Ground Vehicles with onboard AI edge computers could use deep learning to detect and locate concealed chemical, biological and explosives threats by fusing imaging sensors and chemical/biological sensors.
Other examples include:
 
Use AI/ML countermeasures against adversarial, low probability of intercept/low probability of detection (LPI/LPD) radar techniques in radar and communication systems.
 
Given sequences of observations of unknown radar waveforms from arbitrary emitters without a priori knowledge, use machine learning to develop behavioral models to enable inference of radar intent and threat level, and to enable prediction of future behaviors.
 
For objects in space, use machine learning to predict and characterize a spacecraft’s possible actions, its subsequent trajectory, and what threats it can pose from along that trajectory. Predict the outcomes of finite burn, continuous thrust, and impulsive maneuvers.
 
AI empowers other applications such as:
 
AI/ML in Collection
The front end of intelligence collection platforms has created a firehose of data that have overwhelmed human analysts. “Smart” sensors coupled with inference engines can pre-process raw intelligence and prioritize what data to transmit and store –helpful in degraded or low-bandwidth environments.
 
Human-Machine Teaming in Signals Intelligence
Applications with embedded intelligence have already begun to appear in commercial applications thanks to massive language models. For example - Copilot as a pair-programmer in Microsoft Visual Studio VSCode. It’s not hard to imagine an AI that can detect and isolate anomalies and other patterns of interest in all sorts of signal data faster and more reliably than human operators.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
AI-enabled natural language processing, computer vision, and audiovisual analysis can vastly reduce manual data processing. Advances in speech-to-text transcription and language analytics now enable reading comprehension, question answering, and automated summarization of large quantities of text. This not only prioritizes the work of human analysts, it’s a major force multiplier.
 
AI can also be used to automate data conversion such as translations and decryptions, accelerating the ability to derive actionable insights.
 
Human-Machine Teaming in Tasking and Dissemination
AI-enabled systems will automate and optimize tasking and collection for platforms, sensors, and assets in near-real time in response to dynamic intelligence requirements or changes in the environment.
 
AI will be able to automatically generate machine-readable versions of intelligence products and disseminate them at machine speed so that computer systems across the IC and the military can ingest and use them in real time without manual intervention.
 
Human-Machine Teaming in Exploitation and Analytics
AI-enabled tools can augment filtering, flagging, and triage across multiple data sets. They can identify connections and correlations more efficiently and at a greater scale than human analysts, and can flag those findings and the most important content for human analysis.
AI can fuse data from multiple sources, types of intelligence, and classification levels to produce accurate predictive analysis in a way that is not currently possible. This can improve indications and warnings for military operations and active cyber defense.
 
AI/ML Information warfare
Nation states have used AI systems to enhance disinformation campaigns and cyberattacks. This included using “DeepFakes” (fake videos generated by a neural network that are nearly indistinguishable from reality). They are harvesting data on Americans to build profiles of our beliefs, behavior, and biological makeup for tailored attempts to manipulate or coerce individuals.
 
But because a large percentage of it is open-source, AI is not limited to nation states. AI-powered cyber-attacks, deepfakes and AI software paired with commercially available drones can create “poor-man’s smart weapons” for use by rogue states, terrorists and criminals.
 
AI/ML Cyberwarfare
AI-enabled malware can learn and adapt to a system’s defensive measures, or, conversely, AI-enabled cyber-defensive tools can proactively locate and address network anomalies and system vulnerabilities.
 

 
AI-driven malware, where a malicious logic embeds machine learning methods and models to automatically: (i) probe the target system for inferring actionable intelligence (e.g., system configuration or operational patterns) and (ii) customize the attack payload accordingly (e.g., determine the most opportune time to execute the payload so to maximize the impact).
 

 
 
 
 
 
Attacks Against AI - Adversarial AI
As AI proliferates, defeating adversaries will be predicated on defeating their AI and vice versa. As Neural Networks take over sensor processing and triage tasks, a human may only be alerted if the AI deems it suspicious. Therefore, we only need to defeat the AI to evade detection, not necessarily a human.
 
Adversarial attacks against AI fall into three types:
  • Data misclassification- to generate false positive or negative results
  • Synthetic data generation-to feed false information
  • Data analysis – for AI-assisted classical attack generation
 
AI Attack Surfaces
Electronic Attack (EA), Electronic Protection (EP), Electronic Support (ES) all have analogues in the AI algorithmic domainIn the future, we may play the same game about the “Algorithmic Spectrum,” denying our adversaries their AI capabilities while defending oursOther can steal or poison our models or manipulate our training data.
 
What Makes AI Possible Now?[3]
 
Four changes make Machine Learning possible now:
  1. Massive Data Sets
  2. Improved Machine Learning algorithms
  3. Open-Source Code, Pretrained Models and Frameworks
  4. More computing power
 
 
Massive Data Sets
Machine Learning algorithms tend to require large quantities of training data in order to produce high-performance AI models. (Training Google’s GPT-3 Natural Language Model with 175 billion parameters takes 1,024 Nvidia A100 GPUs more than one month.) Today, strategic and tactical sensors pour in a firehose of images, signals and other data. Billions of computers, digital devices and sensors connected to the Internet, producing and storing large volumes of data, which provide other sources of intelligence. For example facial recognition requires millions of labeled images of faces for training data.
 
Of course more data only helps if the data is relevant to your desired application. Training data needs to match the real-world operational data very, very closely to train a high-performing AI model.
 
Improved Machine Learning algorithms
The first Machine Learning algorithms are decades old, and some remain incredibly useful. However, researchers have discovered new algorithms that have greatly sped up the fields cutting-edge. These new algorithms have made Machine Learning models more flexible, more robust, and more capable of solving different types of problems.
 
Open-Source Code, Pretrained Models and Frameworks
Developing Machine Learning systems required a lot of expertise and custom software development that made it out of reach for most organizations. Now open-source code libraries and developer tools allow organizations to use and build upon the work of external communities. No team or organization has to start from scratch, and many parts that used to require highly specialized expertise have been automated. Even non-experts and beginners can create useful AI tools. In some cases, open-source ML models can be entirely reused and purchased. Combined with standard competitions, open source, pretrained models and frameworks have moved the field forward faster than any federal lab or contractor. It’s been a feeding frenzy with the best and brightest researchers trying to one-up each other to prove which ideas are best.
 
The downside is that, unlike past DoD technology development - where the DoD leads it, can control it, and has the most advanced technology (like stealth and electronic warfare), in most cases the DoD will not have the most advanced algorithms or models. The analogy for AI is closer to microelectronics than it is EW. The path forward for the DoD should be supporting open research, but optimizing on data set collection, harvesting research results, and fast application.
 
More computing power – special chips
Machine Learning systems require a lot of computing power. Today, it’s possible to run Machine Learning algorithms on massive datasets using commodity Graphics Processing Units (GPUs). (See the machine learning hardware section below). While many of the AI performance improvements have been due to human cleverness on better models and algorithms, most of the performance gains have been the massive increase in compute performance. (See the semiconductor section.) 
 
More computing power – AI In the Cloud
The rapid growth in the size of machine learning models has been achieved by the move to large data center clusters. The size of machine learning models are limited by time to train them. For example, in training images, the size of the model scales with the number of pixels in an image. ImageNet Model sizes are 224x224 pixels. But HD (1920x1080) images require 40x more computation/memory. Large Natural Language Processing models -- e.g., summarizing articles, English-to-Chinese translation like Google’s GPT-3 -- require enormous models. GPT-3 uses 175 billion parameters and was trained on a cluster with 1,024 Nvidia A100 GPUs that cost ~$25 million! (Which is why large clusters exist in the cloud, or the largest companies/ government agencies.) Facebooks Deep Learning and Recommendation Model (DLRM) was trained on 1TB data and has 24 billion parameters. Some cloud vendors train on >10TB data sets.
 
Instead of investing in massive amounts of computers needed for training, companies can use the enormous on-demand, off-premises hardware in the cloud (e.g., Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure) for both training machine learning models and deploying inferences.
 
We’re Just Getting Started
The next 10 years will see a massive improvement on AI inference and training capabilities. This will require regular refreshes of the hardware – on the chip and cloud clusters - to take advantage. This is the AI version of Moore’s Law on steroids – applications that are completely infeasible today will be easy in 5 years.
 
What Can’t AI Do?
While AI can do a lot of things better than humans when focused on a narrow objective, there are many things it still can’t do. AI works well in specific domain where you have lots of data, time/resources to train, domain expertise to set the right goals/rewards during training, but that is not always the case.
 
For example AI models are only as good as the fidelity and quality of the training data. Having bad labels can wreak havoc on your training results. Protecting the integrity of the training data is critical. 
 
In addition, AI is easily fooled by out-of-domain data (things it hasn’t seen before). This can happen by “overfitting” - when a model trains for too long on sample data or when the model is too complex, it can start to learn the “noise,” or irrelevant information, within the dataset.[4] When the model memorizes the noise and fits too closely to the training set, the model becomes “overfitted,” and it is unable to generalize well to new data. If a model cannot generalize well to new data, then it will not be able to perform the classification or prediction tasks it was intended for. However, if you pause too early or exclude too many important features, you may encounter the opposite problem, and instead, you may “underfit” your model. Underfitting occurs when the model has not trained for enough time, or the input variables are not significant enough to determine a meaningful relationship between the input and output variables.
 
AI is also poor at estimating uncertainty /confidence (and explaining its decision-making). It can’t choose its own goals. (Executives need to define the decision that the AI will execute. Without well-defined decisions to be made, data scientists will waste time, energy and money.) Except for simple cases an AI can’t (yet) figure out cause and effect or why something happened. It can’t think creatively or apply common sense.
 
AI is not very good at creating a strategy (unless it can pull from previous examples and mimic them, but then fails with the unexpected.) And it lacks generalized intelligence e.g. that can generalize knowledge and translate learning across domains.
 
All of these are research topics actively being worked on. Solving these will take a combination of high-performance computing, advanced AI/ML semiconductors, creative machine learning implementations and decision science. Some may be solved in the next decade, at least to a level where a human can’t tell the difference.
 
Where is AI and National Security Going Next?
In the near future AI may be able to predict the future actions an adversary could take and the actions a friendly force could take to counter these. The 20th century model loop of Observe–Orient–Decide and Act (OODA) is retrospective; an observation cannot be made until after the event has occurred. An AI-enabled decision-making cycle might be ‘sense–predict–agree–act’: AI senses the environment; predicts what the adversary might do and offers what a future friendly force response should be; the human part of the human–machine team agrees with this assessment; and AI acts by sending machine-to-machine instructions to the small, agile and many autonomous warfighting assets deployed en masse across the battlefield.
 
An example of this is DARPA’s ACE (Air Combat Evolution) program that is developing a warfighting concept for combined arms using a manned and unmanned systems. Humans will fight in close collaboration with autonomous weapon systems in complex environments with tactics informed by artificial intelligence.
 
A Once-in-a-Generation Event
Imagine it’s the 1980’s and you’re in charge of an intelligence agency. SIGINT and COMINT were analog and RF. You had worldwide collection systems with bespoke systems in space, air, underwater, etc. And you wake up to a world that shifts from copper to fiber. Most of your people, and equipment and equipment are going to be obsolete, and you need to learn how to capture those new bits. Almost every business processes needed to change, new organizations needed to be created, new skills were needed, and old ones were obsoleted. That’s what AI/ML is going to do to you and your agency.
 
The primary obstacle to innovation in national security is not technology, it is culture. The DoD and IC must overcome a host of institutional, bureaucratic, and policy challenges to adopting and integrating these new technologies. Many parts of our culture are resistant to change, reliant on traditional tradecraft and means of collection, and averse to risk-taking, (particularly acquiring and adopting new technologies and integrating outside information sources.)
 
History tells us that late adopters fall by the wayside as more agile and opportunistic governments master new technologies.
 
Carpe Diem.
 
Sources:
 
 
[2] https://www.nscai.gov/2021-final-report/
[4] https://www.ibm.com/cloud/learn/overfitting

About the Author(s)

Steve Blank is an Adjunct Professor at Stanford University and a co-founder of the Gordian Knot Center for National Security Innovation at Stanford.










4. Marine Colonel in Ukraine explains where US aid is falling short

Conclusion:
Moreover, a policy that simply pushes logistics without any “pull” or supervision to ensure distribution according to prioritization of need simply doesn’t work. A handful of US contractors in-country could have made a world of difference in this regard. Instead, the Territorial Defense Forces in the West are all well equipped while units on the front line go short of everything. Is this corruption? Perhaps—but from what I have seen it’s simply a case of commanders trying to take care of their own, not realizing that there is only a limited amount of US largess to go around.
I am not making these comments simply to vent, nor because I have a partisan agenda. I have considerable experience with planning and executing complex military operations, and want to help. But someone in the administration has to be willing to listen…

Marine Colonel in Ukraine explains where US aid is falling short
sandboxx.us · by Andrew Milburn · May 11, 2022
This is what the Turkish Bayraktar TB-2 leaves in its wake. There were 2 such drones involved in this attack on a Russian armored column north of Kyiv—quite a bargain at just under $2 million a platform (only slightly more than a single Tomahawk cruise missile).
Andrew Milburn inspects the wreckage of a Russian armored column (Mozart Group)
Editor’s Note: This piece was penned by retired Marine Colonel Andrew Milburn, the founder of the Mozart Group.
Sandboxx News has partnered with the Mozart Group to bring you news, analysis, and updates from inside Ukraine’s fight for sovereignty. Led by a retired Marine Colonel, the primary mission of the Mozart Group is to increase the capability and sustainable capacity of the Ukrainian military consistent with U.S. foreign policy. In addition, the Mozart Group aims to protect vulnerable segments of the civilian population in Ukraine.
You can learn more about volunteering with the Mozart Group or about how to donate to them directly by visiting their website here.
Anti-tank weapons are effective because of Soviet design flaws
The Javelin Close Combat Missile System – Medium (CCMS-M) is a man-portable, medium-range tactical missile system. US aid packages to Ukraine have included over 5,000 Javeline systems to date. (U.S. Army photo)
By contrast, the much-vaunted Javelin and NLAW man-portable anti-tank guided missiles provided to Ukraine in aid packages from the US and its allies, belong to a previous era. They require a man (or two men in the case of the Javelin) to “ambush” armored vehicles within the adversary’s weapons engagement zone. Their high success rate here in Ukraine owes everything to designer defects in Soviet armor.
The Russian BRDMs are made of aluminum alloy, which burns incandescently after contact with a high explosive round. And the manufacturer of the T-72 overlooked one fatal design defect: the tank’s ammunition is stored below the crew spaces without a hardened bulkhead for insulation. Even an RPG-7 round fired from the flank will result in a catastrophic kill more often than not.
The remains of a Russian tank current (General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine)
Both of these flaws are a result of the corruption and incompetence endemic throughout the Russian Federation military procurement system—and have proven to be a great benefit for the defenders of Ukraine.
Why doesn’t the US produce a blue-collar drone like the TB-2 for export? Well, as all of you are aware, the answers are quite complex. Since July of 2020, there have been no legal restrictions on the export of such a platform. But the US defense industry has no incentive to manufacture a low-cost drone with similar capabilities to the TB-2, and the Defense Department has yet to send a demand signal. Instead, the Turks and the Israelis are allowed to dominate the market—two countries whose national interests do not always overlap neatly with ours.
Where US aid to Ukraine is falling short and why
US aid destined for Ukraine (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan Lackey)
On a related topic, I have been criticized for my intemperate language in calling out the incoherence of US foreign policy when it comes to Ukraine. I regret using terms that imply that the administration is frightened of Putin and terrified of escalation, but am immensely frustrated that the provision of military aid to Ukraine does not appear to be aligned with battlefield requirements. Instead, we throw money at the problem in the hope that sheer expenditure will bring results. It is a mistake to conflate expenditure and resources with targeted capability. Military aid should be focused on actual requirements—and it is here where US policy breaks down.
The requirement here for long-range precision fires is one example. The US has made no attempt to meet this capability, nor has it fielded logistics drones to meet the Ukrainian military’s requirement to provide penny packet re-supply to units cut off by RF forces. The garrison in Mariupol—the Marines and special operations troops who have fought so tenaciously for the last 2 months—are sending out their last messages of farewell. They are short of ammunition, food, water and medicine. They have some 600 wounded, many of whom are dying of infections unusual for any army in the 21st century. Surrender is absolutely out of the question; no one brings up such a preposterous idea.
It didn’t have to be this way. Helicopters have made it through the Russian ADA defenses, but with every third being shot down, resupply by this means became prohibitively expensive. It would have been a relatively simple task to flood the air with inexpensive decoys, overwhelming Russian air defenses, while a handful of logistics drones delivered vital supplies that would have allowed the garrison to fight on indefinitely. Although such drones are available in the US, no one thought to supply them to the Ukrainian armed forces… and now it is probably too late.
Maximizing US aid to Ukraine requires supervision
(Ukraine Defense Forces)
Moreover, a policy that simply pushes logistics without any “pull” or supervision to ensure distribution according to prioritization of need simply doesn’t work. A handful of US contractors in-country could have made a world of difference in this regard. Instead, the Territorial Defense Forces in the West are all well equipped while units on the front line go short of everything. Is this corruption? Perhaps—but from what I have seen it’s simply a case of commanders trying to take care of their own, not realizing that there is only a limited amount of US largess to go around.
I am not making these comments simply to vent, nor because I have a partisan agenda. I have considerable experience with planning and executing complex military operations, and want to help. But someone in the administration has to be willing to listen…
You can learn more about volunteering with the Mozart Group or about how to donate to them directly by visiting their website here.
Read more from the Mozart Group and Sandboxx News
Are you the editor of a news or media outlet who would like to syndicate our Mozart Group content at no cost? We want to spread the word—reach out to us at news@sandboxx.us with “Syndication Request” in the subject line!
Feature image courtesy of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence
sandboxx.us · by Andrew Milburn · May 11, 2022


5. Training, Logistics Snafus Show How US Advisors Could Help Ukraine, Volunteers Say

Excerpts:
Mark Hayward, a retired U.S. Special Forces operator from Alaska, went to Ukraine shortly after the war broke out and soon found himself training Ukrainians to use the shoulder-fired Javelin anti-tank missile. He said that the United States is missing a key opportunity by not sending more military advisors to offer training on weapons and help with logistics.
“We should have had American advisors in country with these units,” he told Defense One. When asked if the lack of such trainers was hurting Ukrainian efforts to retake key areas from Russian forces, he said, “Yes. I say that that's fair.”
...
But much of the pre-war training was geared toward the relatively low-level battles that Ukrainian forces had been waging against Russian-supported separatists since 2014, not the more intense warfare that has taken place this year, said one retired senior U.S. military officer who spent years training Ukrainians.
“We focused on the type of fighting that was occurring in the Donbas and the type of fighting that was occurring there was really almost static, trench-type warfare with a lot of indirect fire,” he said. “I guess in hindsight, you know, especially from what we're hearing from our intel community, basically they [meaning the U.S. intelligence community] saw this attack coming for quite some time.” Despite that advance warning, he says, “We were kind of late to the dance there in order to prepare these guys, to be quite blunt about it.”
The former officer disagreed that putting U.S. advisors on the ground right now was the best solution, saying that the United States should continue to train Ukrainians outside of the country and then rotate them back in. “I don't see that there's any way to really speed up the process. It's just going to be a slow process of pulling them out of the country training and then get them back in. That's why I think this is going to be a long drawn-out affair.”
Training, Logistics Snafus Show How US Advisors Could Help Ukraine, Volunteers Say
Time, effort, and materiel are being wasted for lack of a little expertise, say two U.S. volunteers recently returned from the war-torn country.
defenseone.com · by Patrick Tucker
Endless images of damaged Russian tanks show how Ukrainians are putting U.S. Javelin missiles to use—and yet they could be fighting even more effectively if more U.S. advisors were there to help, say two U.S. volunteers who recently returned from the war-torn country.
Mark Hayward, a retired U.S. Special Forces operator from Alaska, went to Ukraine shortly after the war broke out and soon found himself training Ukrainians to use the shoulder-fired Javelin anti-tank missile. He said that the United States is missing a key opportunity by not sending more military advisors to offer training on weapons and help with logistics.
“We should have had American advisors in country with these units,” he told Defense One. When asked if the lack of such trainers was hurting Ukrainian efforts to retake key areas from Russian forces, he said, “Yes. I say that that's fair.”
Official U.S. announcements about the delivery of weapons to Ukraine conceal a far more complex reality. Hayward recounted how some Javelin launchers arrived on the front lines without key parts or instructions. The launchers’ lithium-ion batteries often held enough charge for only a few shots, which made training on the systems difficult. Using old motorcycle batteries, he developed a “craptastic” battery pack. “We just spliced together cables with alligator clips and little pieces of wire. We actually salvaged the connectors by breaking open the wiring harness for an old CPU fan.”
Hayward said Ukrainian troops were even more resourceful. They figured out how to use 3-D printers in the field to manufacture key components, such as the six-pin plug that connects the battery. “They actually made a working prototype,” he said. “We put this homemade thing into a $100,000 command launch unit and we powered it. And thank god it worked.” They also created a manual in Ukrainian that went viral, he said. But all this improvisation drains time for other tasks.
Some of the components went missing because they arrived in different boxes, or because the Ukrainians didn’t know to request them, according to a second U.S. volunteer.
“You get Javelin rockets in the warehouse and each rocket is supposed to come with" a battery, said the second volunteer, who asked to remain anonymous. “We got a bunch of rockets. We didn't get any batteries beca​use nobody knew...they're in different boxes. That battery comes in a cardboard box and the rocket comes in a big plastic protective case. They grabbed the case. Nobody even knew what was supposed to be with it.”
But it’s not just the batteries. According to the Javelin manual, units are supposed to ship with a field tactical training unit—basically, a small device that attaches to the launcher to help practice tracking targets and firing its missile.
“These would be a rather useful tool to send out to these frontline units,” said Hayward. But the U.S. government was late in sending them, he said “because the Ukrainians didn't ask for them.”
As a result, a lot of Ukrainians fired a Javelin for the first time in combat. “There's no hands-on practice. The first time they do any of that is with a live missile under a four-minute countdown clock from the [battery coolant unit] while they're facing live Russian attack,” he said.
While Hayward said that the Defense Department has since promised to send more training devices, his experience suggests that those vital components could well wind up in a box somewhere far from the front lines. What’s really needed, he said, are official U.S. advisors to offer training and help with logistics.
“We have to have advisors embedded with us. We have to have mobile training teams, because if we don't do that we will not only miss problems like this one, but we will miss problems that will come up later simply because our eyes and ears are far from the battlefield.”
The United States was training Ukrainian forces in the western part of the country until just before the start of the war. Since the onset of hostilities, this training has moved to Germany.
But much of the pre-war training was geared toward the relatively low-level battles that Ukrainian forces had been waging against Russian-supported separatists since 2014, not the more intense warfare that has taken place this year, said one retired senior U.S. military officer who spent years training Ukrainians.
“We focused on the type of fighting that was occurring in the Donbas and the type of fighting that was occurring there was really almost static, trench-type warfare with a lot of indirect fire,” he said. “I guess in hindsight, you know, especially from what we're hearing from our intel community, basically they [meaning the U.S. intelligence community] saw this attack coming for quite some time.” Despite that advance warning, he says, “We were kind of late to the dance there in order to prepare these guys, to be quite blunt about it.”
The former officer disagreed that putting U.S. advisors on the ground right now was the best solution, saying that the United States should continue to train Ukrainians outside of the country and then rotate them back in. “I don't see that there's any way to really speed up the process. It's just going to be a slow process of pulling them out of the country training and then get them back in. That's why I think this is going to be a long drawn-out affair.”
defenseone.com · by Patrick Tucker


6. Why American veterans are dropping everything to train Ukrainians


Why American veterans are dropping everything to train Ukrainians
LVIV, UKRAINE
The Christian Science Monitor · by The Christian Science Monitor · May 11, 2022
The war in Ukraine has attracted U.S. military veterans and Western legionnaires like no foreign battlefield in recent memory. But what motivates midcareer professionals – often now married, with children, and with their former military lives receding into memory – to drop everything to assist another nation’s fight?
Some are impressed by Ukrainian pluck and resolve. Others see a historic battle between good and evil.
Why We Wrote This
What moves people from passive sympathy to active participation? American military veterans who got off their couches to help in this war cite Ukrainian resolve and the conflict’s moral clarity.
“It’s also just a very clear conflict, with a democracy being invaded by essentially an authoritarian state, and a land grab,” says Matthew VanDyke, a former documentary filmmaker whose nonprofit is helping train Ukrainians for the battlefield. “It’s a no-brainer as far as right and wrong in this.”
His group’s military trainers have completed one two-week session for Ukraine’s territorial defense service and are now working with the National Guard in Kyiv.
Jason, a former U.S. Army combat medic from Maryland who joined the group, says the Ukraine war “burned in me” from the start. “I’ve seen shopkeepers, 17-year-old girls who are students, and farmers – people who have never held rifles in their lives. ... It’s inspiring,” he says. “They’re doing it with nothing; they’re giving it their all.”
LVIV, Ukraine
The former U.S. Army combat medic watched the war unfold from the safety of his Maryland home, his admiration growing for Ukrainians’ courage in the face of an overwhelming Russian invasion force.
For him, previous foreign conflicts had been no more than news headlines: Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, for example, or Moscow’s role propping up the Assad regime in Syria by hammering rebel strongholds to rubble.
But this Ukraine war “burned in me” from the start, says Jason, who asked that his surname not be used. It prompted him to drop his life at home and become one of hundreds – if not thousands – of former American service members and other military volunteers from around the world to answer Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s call for help.
Why We Wrote This
What moves people from passive sympathy to active participation? American military veterans who got off their couches to help in this war cite Ukrainian resolve and the conflict’s moral clarity.
“What made me know I was coming here immediately was just the sheer determination and motivation of Ukrainians,” says the veteran, who wears a hat and a hoodie with a medical green cross shoulder patch.
“I’ve seen shopkeepers, 17-year-old girls who are students, and farmers – people who have never held rifles in their lives. ... It’s inspiring,” Jason says in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, where he has joined the nonprofit Sons of Liberty International (SOLI) to help train Ukrainians for the battlefield. “They’re doing it with nothing; they’re giving it their all.”
Also inspiring to Jason, as Russia launched its invasion in February, was President Zelenskyy’s now famous reply to a U.S. offer to help evacuate him to safety: “The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride.”
“For that man to stay here, it just motivated me to the point where I went to the Ukrainian Embassy,” says Jason. “I thought my wife would be upset, but she said, ‘I knew you were going from the moment this happened.’ We emptied out our savings account ... but she was all right with that.”
“A very clear conflict”
The war in Ukraine has attracted U.S. military veterans and Western legionnaires like no foreign battlefield in recent memory. But what motivates midcareer professionals – often now married, with children, and with their former military lives receding into memory – to drop everything and step into the trenches of another nation’s fight?
Some are impressed by Ukrainian pluck and resolve, by surviving 11 weeks of the Russian onslaught, when analysts predicted they would be routed in three days. Others see a historic battle between good and evil, with a high-stakes clarity between right and wrong not seen for decades.

Scott Peterson/Getty Images/The Christian Science Monitor
Matthew VanDyke, head of the nonprofit Sons of Liberty International, at his hotel room headquarters in Lviv, Ukraine, May 1, 2022. Mr. VanDyke says of his current crop of American military veterans training Ukrainians for the battlefield: “I look for thinkers, not trigger pullers, so I really lucked out.”
“In the past, we didn’t get involved in Ukraine because, when it was just involving Donbas, there was no way to have an effect on the outcome of the conflict. Now there is,” says Matthew VanDyke, who founded SOLI in 2015. The former documentary filmmaker was motivated at the time by his own experiences being held captive for five months in Libya while fighting with Libyan revolutionary forces in 2011.
“It’s also just a very clear conflict, with a democracy being invaded by essentially an authoritarian state, and a land grab,” says Mr. VanDyke, who wears a beard, hair combed back, and tactical military clothes. “It’s a no-brainer as far as right and wrong in this.”
Foreign fighters have played key roles on both sides of the conflict. Russia has deployed a shadowy force of guns for hire called the Wagner Group, which has close Kremlin ties and has been active from Syria to Mali and now in Ukraine. Russia has also sought recruitment of pro-Russian Syrians to fight in Ukraine.
Likewise, Mr. Zelenskyy announced in early March the formation of an International Legion to fight on behalf of Ukraine, and said 20,000 volunteers had already shown an interest. Yet so far those efforts appear ad hoc, at best.
Training the trainers
The SOLI military trainers, who aim to make a “tangible difference” on the Ukrainian battlefield, have completed one two-week session for trainers from Ukraine’s territorial defense service and are now working with the National Guard in Kyiv. Their pedigree, from the Philippines to Burma to parts of Africa, includes training – and fighting alongside – Christian forces in northern Iraq as they battled against the Islamic State.
In Ukraine, SOLI will use the model of training Ukrainian trainers as a force multiplier, especially for volunteer units that have little previous experience. A team of 10 to 12 will be here “until the war is over,” says Mr. VanDyke. “There are thousands that need training, and they are not going to get it if we don’t provide it,” he says.
Already providing key parts of the curriculum, albeit remotely, is former U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Cameron Albin, a veteran of three tours in Iraq, including the battle of Fallujah in November 2004.
Since leaving active service, Mr. Albin has nearly completed his Ph.D. in military history and started a nonprofit called the American Odysseus Sailing Foundation, which works to benefit veterans’ mental health through sailing. On their tick list is the around-the-world Ocean Globe Race with a crew of veterans, starting next year.
Married and with a 3-year-old, Mr. Albin has little spare time. But his years in the Marine Corps infantry school, his experience training Iraqis, and the historical parallels he sees with Ukraine today prompted him to find some.
“I have a lot of commitment where I am – I can’t just run off and join a hunter-killer team and start hunting Russian T-72 tanks, although that did look like a really cool prospect to a younger version of me,” says Mr. Albin, speaking from Fort Worth, Texas.

Scott Peterson/Getty Images/The Christian Science Monitor/File
Capt. Cameron Albin (left) and fellow U.S. Marines call in air support to help deal with a nearby firefight in Fallujah, Iraq, Nov. 13, 2004. Mr. Albin, who has nearly completed his Ph.D. in military history and is helping train Ukrainians remotely from Texas, says he is motivated to help in part by his read of history. “This is imperial aggression, 1914-to-1938-style,” he says.
He is now tailoring the curriculum he once used to train Iraqis to the Ukraine fight.
“These are butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers, so they’re going from zero to hero in a very short amount of time,” says Mr. Albin. “At least it’s the one small thing that I can do, and still be a good husband and a good dad. ... It’s not sitting back and saying, ‘Well, that’s [bad],’ and being a voyeur on CNN or YouTube.”
“Ukrainians have not given up”
Mr. Albin’s motivation stems in part from his reading of the past, and the risks of inaction.
“This is imperial aggression, 1914-to-1938-style,” says Mr. Albin. “The excuses that [Russian President Vladimir Putin] is using – ‘Ethnic minorities are being mistreated, so I have to go in and annex this territory’ – all we have to do is take ‘Crimea’ and replace that with ‘Sudetenland’, and we are back in 1938.”
Clarity over Ukraine is also what prompted Erik Inbody, a veteran infantryman who spent five years in the Marine Corps, to leave his job as a welder and metal fabricator in Texas – and his 4-year-old daughter – and join SOLI in Ukraine.
“I try to live my life by a moral compass, to do the right thing. ... There was no question in my mind if I needed to be here or not,” says Mr. Inbody, who wears a Ukrainian flag patch on his baseball cap in Lviv.
Last summer, when the United States pulled out of Afghanistan, he had planned to link up with a group going there.
“But when I looked at the Afghan people, they weren’t fighting back,” says Mr. Inbody. “Anyone willing to stand up and fight for their own freedom, I will stand with you. ... And the Ukrainians have not given up. They continue to fight; that inspired me.”
Leaving his daughter has not been easy, he says. “But I cannot teach her how to do the right thing, if I am not willing to do it myself.
“I had a good job; I left it. I had a small savings account that’s now empty,” he says. “But I believe in what we are doing here. I believe in the fight. And these are normal people – normal, everyday people. They’ve asked for help with minimal expectation.”
More help has now started to come, and quickly. The U.S. House of Representatives, in an overwhelming bipartisan vote on Tuesday, approved a new $40 billion aid package to Ukraine, on top of the $13.6 billion already authorized. The Senate is expected to follow suit.
But that broad political support for Ukraine – and the strong motivations voiced by U.S. veterans aiding the country – has ironically not translated into sizable donations for American trainer groups like SOLI, which relies on individual donors.
“I look for thinkers, not trigger pullers, so I really lucked out” with the current Ukraine team, says Mr. VanDyke.
“There’s a misconception that it takes $100 million budgets to affect wars,” he says. “Small things can have a big difference, and that goes for training, supplying, and advising these types of conflicts.
“People who are donating can see that there are tangible impacts,” he adds. “We don’t do anything just for show; it’s either having a tangible impact, or it’s not worth my time.”


The Christian Science Monitor · by The Christian Science Monitor · May 11, 2022



7. Female Instructors Now Train SEAL and SWCC Candidates | SOF News


Female Instructors Now Train SEAL and SWCC Candidates | SOF News
sof.news · by DVIDS · May 12, 2022

Story by Benjamin Kittleson, NSW.
The sun is still below the horizon as the ocean breeze blows on a chilly winter morning in San Diego, where the latest group of Navy Sea, Air and Land (SEAL) and Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman (SWCC) hopefuls hits the soft sand for some morning physical training. Overseeing this training is an experienced instructor, alternately observing and motivating the class to stay focused.
“Listen up! Eat, sleep and train. That’s all you’re getting paid for!”
These are the three things Chief Petty Officer Joan Jennings, an instructor at Naval Special Warfare’s Basic Training Command (BTC), wants candidates thinking about as they start their day. It’s an important lesson she knows from years of special warfare assessment and selection: keep your goals in the now – and make them simple. This is how candidates travel the long, arduous road to join the Navy’s elite commando force. Humility helps.
“When you get down to the basics,” she said, “you joined to serve your country.”
BTC’s instructor cadre has a broad range of experience, talents and backgrounds. Many, like Jennings, have deployed to combat zones.
“I was embedded with Army infantry prior to women being allowed in combat zones,” she said, reflecting on her time as a Navy second class petty officer deployed in a combat camera role to Bagdad in 2008. “There were moments when I realized I was the only female in the FOB (forward operating base), but I didn’t think of myself as some sort of trailblazer. The whole time I was there, the idea of me being a girl never really crossed my mind because we were all there to do a job, to complete the mission. I wanted to be in it and document the fight.”
The mission of the instructor cadre seems simple: assess and select the next generation of Naval Special Warfare (NSW) operators to go downrange. But it takes a lot of hard work and professional requirements to earn the title of instructor at one of the Navy’s most prestigious training commands, and BTC needs more than just a qualified staff – proven leaders are critical to the success of the mission.
“As a Chief and an instructor, I’m able to mentor not just SEAL and SWCC candidates, not just men or women who want to be special operators or boat team members, but young Sailors,” said Jennings. “And I think it is important for the female candidates who come through here to see senior leadership within the instructor ranks.”
Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Erika Neal spent five years deploying and working in support of multiple SEAL teams on the Mobile Communications Team before successfully interviewing for an instructor position at BTC. But that was just the beginning.
“I’ve always held the mindset that says, ‘you have to earn your spot’,” said Neal. In anticipation of joining BTC, she participated in a familiarization program to prepare her for the challenges of being an instructor. “I ran the beach with a boat on my head, I carried the log, swam the laps – to be a part of the team, a part of the community. We’re expected to shoulder our share of the weight.”
Now she serves as an instructor for the Basic Crewman Training course, helping candidates learn the critical skillsets of the SWCC community, the Navy’s elite maritime mobility operators. She finds working as part of a professional cadre with different values and perspectives to be rewarding.
“It’s actually really cool how different we all are, because I think that with this little group that we have, it’s important that we all balance each other out,” Neal said. “When we’re going over ideas regarding training, we’re not all coming up with the same thing. Our individual personalities help us to work interdependently.”
The women of NSW share a deep sense of camaraderie as they work to deliver on mission.
“This is something I want to do. The idea of supporting women in special operations spoke to me,” said Lt. Cmdr. Erica Young, force integration officer for Naval Special Warfare Command. “You see, I didn’t want to simply have a job, but a career where I could build upon skill sets – where what I’m doing is rewarding and meaningful, and I’m giving back. That’s important to me, and I knew I could have that here.”
Young believes the tough daily regimen of training for the next generation of warriors is worth it not only for candidates, but for the women who have earned the title of instructor.
“It’s important to have these women here, regardless of whether there’s a female candidate coming through or not,” she said. “Because it’s changing the outlook and mindset of the men, they’re seeing these women get the same respect as the other male instructors, even though they don’t have a SEAL or SWCC pin.”
Still, the focus remains on the candidates. Jennings said that what she concentrates on today, more than 20 years after she joined the Navy, has not changed all that much from the basics she tries to instill in the candidates today. “The people we train, both men and women, they’re so young and hungry. And no matter what job they pick, they’re thinking selflessly, and they’re committing to something bigger than themselves. We’re doing something we’re passionate about. And you have to be passionate about this – otherwise it’s just a job.”
Naval Special Warfare Center, located on Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, provides initial assessment and selection and subsequent advanced training to the Sailors who make up the Navy’s SEAL and Special Boat communities, a key asset of NSW. The NSW mission is to provide maritime special operations forces to conduct full-spectrum operations, unilaterally or with partners, to support national objectives.
**********
This story of Petty Officer 1st Class Benjamin Kittleson of the Naval Special Warfare Center was originally published by the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service on April 6, 2022. DVIDS publishes content in the public domain.
Photo: Chief Mass Communication Specialist Joan Jennings, supervises Navy Sea, Air and Land (SEAL) and Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman (SWCC) candidates during swim training in the combat training tank onboard Naval Amphibious Base Coronado. Chief Jennings is an instructor at Naval Special Warfare Basic Training Command, a component of Naval Special Warfare Center. NSWCEN provides initial assessment and selection and subsequent advanced training to the Sailors who make up the Navy’s SEAL and Special Boat communities. These communities support the NSW mission, providing maritime special operations forces to conduct full spectrum operators, unilaterally or with partners, to support national objectives. For more information on the NSW assessment, selection and training pathway, visit https://www.sealswcc.com/. (U.S. Navy photo by Benjamin K. Kittleson)
sof.news · by DVIDS · May 12, 2022

8. Why Ukraine’s undersized military is resisting supposedly superior Russian forces

Excerpts:
A key to Ukraine’s holding off this much larger force is the ability to rapidly replace military equipment that gets depleted or destroyed.
Western aid since the start of the war in February 2022 has been absolutely critical to Ukraine’s continued success.
Ukraine’s needs have not changed since then.
As Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba explained during a meeting with NATO officials in April 2022, his wish list “only has three items on it. It’s weapons, weapons, and weapons.”
Ukraine can likely hold out, provided it can get more of everything. But given questions about the continued U.S. supply of Javelin anti-tank missiles, getting more weapons is not a guarantee.
Why Ukraine’s undersized military is resisting supposedly superior Russian forces
theconversation.com · by Liam Collins
Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, many observers looked at Russia’s overwhelming combat power and thought Russia would achieve a quick victory.
Because Russia has a US$62 billion defense budget and holds numerical advantages in weapon systems such as tanks, artillery, attack helicopters and planes, many analysts asked not whether Russia would win but rather how quickly it would do so.
What these observers and less experienced analysts are not taking into account is that wartime performance is influenced by more than how weapon systems function.
Success in battle is also a function of strategyoperational employmentdoctrinetrainingleadershipculture and the will to fight.

Russia held and continues to hold an overwhelming numerical advantage in manpower and weapon systems, but Ukraine holds the advantage in every other factor.
Ukraine’s military competence goes a long way to explain why Russia failed to seize Kyiv and Kharkiv and why Russia’s attempts to seize the entirety of the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces in its latest offensive in the east will likely fail.
Ukraine’s military reforms
Following its miserable performance in 2014 against Russia, when demonstrations by pro-Russian groups in the Donbas region of Ukraine escalated into a war between the Ukrainian military and Russian-backed separatists, Ukraine conducted a comprehensive review of its security and defense establishment.
The ensuing report led former president Petro Poroshenko to enact the Strategic Defense Bulletin of Ukraine in May 2016.
The bulletin mandated broad and sweeping reform across the defense establishment, with the goal of producing a force capable of performing up to NATO standards by 2020.
Over the next six years, Ukraine reformed its military with the help of Western advisers, trainers and equipment. From 2016 to 2018, I served as the executive officer to the U.S. senior defense adviser to Ukraine and was able to witness some of these reforms.
In that position I met with dozens of members of Ukraine’s security establishment, including then-President Poroshenko and then-Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak.
It was clear that Ukrainian leaders feared a large-scale Russian invasion, and they knew they had little time to make difficult reforms in five categories: command and control, planning, operations, medical and logistics, and professional development of the force.
Battlefield experience
By the time Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, Ukraine had built a well-led, professional force with a culture that encouraged junior leader initiative on the battlefield.
These initiatives occur when original battlefield orders are no longer relevant or fit the changing situation.
Before reforms were enacted, the lieutenants and captains who were conducting the fighting on the ground were unable to make decisions and were required to seek permission before they could act.
Benefiting from eight years of fighting in the Donbas and six years of Western trainers and advisers, Ukraine’s military in 2022 wasn’t the same as it had been in 2014, much to Russia’s surprise.
In fact, it was far superior to Russia’s military in nearly every measure but size.
As a result, Russia’s latest invasion pitted a large but poorly trained force against a much smaller but well-trained, well-led and motivated force.

An abandoned, damaged Russian tank in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol on April 13, 2022. Leon Klein/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
As the war moves east, Ukrainian levels of proficiency, training, leadership, culture and motivation remain constant.
Russian levels of troops and equipment also remain constant – and their poorly led forces cannot be fixed in weeks or months.
It took Ukraine six years to reform its military.
Deploying combat troops
Many media reports have focused on the fact that Russian forces’ moving from the north of Ukraine to support operations in the east will increase Russia’s likelihood of success of occupying Ukraine’s eastern region.
Yet, what is often ignored is that Ukraine is also able to move forces east. Sure, a small element of Ukrainian forces will remain to defend Kyiv.
But others will move east, meaning the overall ratio between Russian and Ukrainian forces is unlikely to change much unless Russia decides to ship in even more troops.
Likewise, Russia does not seem capable of changing how it employs its troops when they meet stiff Ukrainian resistance.
Although much was made of the appointment of Gen. Alexander Dvornikov to command Russian operations in Ukraine, his promotion seems to have changed little on the ground.
Operations over the past few weeks have demonstrated that Russia is still incapable of executing large-scale attacks that result in Russian control over Ukrainian territory.
The only real change that gives hope to Russia is the geographic terrain.
The land in the north of Ukraine consists largely of wetlands, which forced Russia to stick to the roads and thus limited the number of routes it could use to advance on Kyiv.
The terrain in the east contains more open space and would enable Russia to move its troops and tanks along multiple routes instead of one.
Critical military aid
A key to Ukraine’s holding off this much larger force is the ability to rapidly replace military equipment that gets depleted or destroyed.
Western aid since the start of the war in February 2022 has been absolutely critical to Ukraine’s continued success.
Ukraine’s needs have not changed since then.
As Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba explained during a meeting with NATO officials in April 2022, his wish list “only has three items on it. It’s weapons, weapons, and weapons.”
Ukraine can likely hold out, provided it can get more of everything. But given questions about the continued U.S. supply of Javelin anti-tank missiles, getting more weapons is not a guarantee.
[More than 150,000 readers get one of The Conversation’s informative newsletters. Join the list today.]
theconversation.com · by Liam Collins


9. Austin Says 2023 Budget Built on New Defense Strategy

Excerpts:

"We are now facing two global powers, China and Russia, each with significant military capabilities, both who intend to fundamentally change the current rules-based order," Milley said. "We are entering a world that is becoming more unstable, and the potential for significant international conflict between great powers is increasing, not decreasing."
The rules-based order came into place at the end of the last great power war — World War II. That war killed between 70 million and 85 million people worldwide.
"We built this budget based upon our national defense strategy, … [and] we were very diligent and careful to make sure that we went after the capabilities that we needed to support that strategy," Austin said. " I'm confident that we were successful in doing that."

Austin Says 2023 Budget Built on New Defense Strategy
The fiscal 2023 Defense Budget Request was built on the bones of the new National Defense Strategy, and the request is adequate for today's military and ensures the military remains strong in the future, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III told the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee today.

That strategy sees China as the pacing challenge for the United States. Russia, with its unprovoked invasion of neighboring Ukraine, is also a threat that must be taken seriously. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who testified alongside Austin, said this is the most uncertain time he has seen in almost 43 years in uniform.
"We are now facing two global powers, China and Russia, each with significant military capabilities, both who intend to fundamentally change the current rules-based order," Milley said. "We are entering a world that is becoming more unstable, and the potential for significant international conflict between great powers is increasing, not decreasing."
The rules-based order came into place at the end of the last great power war — World War II. That war killed between 70 million and 85 million people worldwide.
"We built this budget based upon our national defense strategy, … [and] we were very diligent and careful to make sure that we went after the capabilities that we needed to support that strategy," Austin said. " I'm confident that we were successful in doing that."
At $773 billion, the request funds the initiatives in the Indo-Pacific region and in Europe. "This is a very healthy budget and provides a significant capability," Austin said.
Still, inflation has caused problems. "When we built the budget, we had to snap a chalk line at some point in time, as you always do when you build a budget," he said.
Austin said the department had to "snap the chalk line" in 2021 — a time when gross domestic product inflation was around 2% and rising.

Instruction Time
U.S. Army Spc. Renato Depradines, with the 1st Infantry Division, instructs soldiers from the Bulgarian Land Forces, on how to construct grapeshot and platter charges during an exercise at Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria, May 4, 2022.
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"We saw that that was increasing, and we doubled it basically to … 3.9% for '22 … and going forward," said Mike McCord, DOD's comptroller/chief financial officer. "If you look at the last six months of data — which we did not have then but have now — that number is now 5.3%. So, we are a little under, but as secretary said, we did the best we could with the information we had. We recognize that things have changed a little since then."
The department had to snap the chalk line in 2021 when the assumption showed the gross domestic product inflation was around 2%. "We saw that that was increasing, and we doubled it basically to … 3.9% for '22 … and going forward," said Mike McCord, DOD's comptroller/chief financial officer. "If you look at the last six months of data — which we did not have then but have now — that number is now 5.3%. So, we are a little under, but as the secretary said, we did the best we could with the information we had. We recognize that things have changed a little since then."
The defense leaders were asked about Ukraine and U.S. support of the embattled democracy. Austin listed the systems and supplies the United States is providing Ukraine including artillery pieces, anti-tank and anti-air weapons. He spoke about the deployment of U.S. troops to the frontline states within NATO, and the U.S. vow to defend every inch of NATO territory.
Austin thanked the House members for passing a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine yesterday and urged the Senate to speedily pass the legislation.
He also spoke of how important it is that the NATO nations stick together in the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin's unnecessary war. Intelligence sharing has been a part of that solidarity. "What we did, in terms of sharing intelligence with our allies and partners, was very, very helpful to demonstrate that we wanted to be transparent and this is a tribute or credit to [President Joe Biden]," Austin said. "It was his decision to move forward and make sure that we shared as much information as possible. That created trust amongst our allies in a more meaningful way. That trust allowed us to create greater unity."


10. Within FY23 Budget Request, Three Approaches Help DOD Meet Defense Strategy

The three:

Those three approaches include integrated deterrence, campaigning and building an enduring advantage.

...
Integrated deterrence has been a main talking point for Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III since he took office in January 2021. Integration means all domains, including conventional, nuclear, cyber, space and the information domain.
...
The second approach to pursing the objectives of the National Defense Strategy is campaigning, where the United States will operate forces, synchronize broader Department efforts and align Department activities with other instruments of national power, to undermine competitor coercion, complicate competitors' military preparations, and develop U.S. warfighting capabilities together with allies and partners.
...
A third approach to pursing the objectives of the National Defense Strategy is the building of an enduring advantage for the joint force involves. That means undertaking reforms that accelerate force development, getting needed technology more quickly, and making investments in the Department's most valuable resource — it's people.
I wish they would include unconventional deterrence and resistance as part of integrated deterrence.

And we need irregular warfare campaigning based on "irregular warfare thinking" as well.

“Irregular Warfare Thinking”*
Because IW is the dominant form of war in the emergent human domain. 

We need to infuse “irregular warfare thinking”* into DOD and “political warfare thinking” into the US government.

*What is “Irregular warfare thinking?” It is thinking about the human element in the full spectrum of competition and conflict up to and including conventional and nuclear war. It includes but is not limited to all aspects of lawlessness, subversion, insurgency, terrorism, political resistance, non-violent resistance, political violence, urban operations, stability operations, post-conflict operations, cyber operations, operations in the information environment (e.g., strategic influence through information advantage, information and influence activities, public diplomacy, psychological operations, and military information support operations, public affairs), working through, with and by indigenous forces and populations, irregular warfare, political warfare, economic warfare, alliances, diplomacy, and statecraft in all regions of the world. 

Irregular warfare is the military contribution to political warfare. Political warfare is the action of the whole of government in strategic competition.

Within FY23 Budget Request, Three Approaches Help DOD Meet Defense Strategy
defense.gov · by DoD News
This year's $773 billion presidential budget request for the Defense Department uses three approaches to support the nation's defense strategy, which was transmitted to Congress in March, said Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen H. Hicks, during a keynote address Friday at the Reagan Institute.
Those three approaches include integrated deterrence, campaigning and building an enduring advantage.
1:02:51
Integrated deterrence has been a main talking point for Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III since he took office in January 2021. Integration means all domains, including conventional, nuclear, cyber, space and the information domain. Integrated deterrence also includes the use of all instruments of national power — not just the military — as well as leaning on partnerships with American allies and partners.
"We seek to network our efforts across domains, theaters and the spectrum of conflict to ensure that the U.S. military, in close cooperation with the rest of the U.S. government and our allies and partners, makes the folly and costs of aggression very clear," said Hicks. "The combat credibility of the U.S. military to fight and win is the cornerstone of integrated deterrence — that is why our top-line request for [Fiscal Year 2023] includes $276 billion for procurement and for research, development, test and evaluation."

Clearing Buildings
Marines work together to clear buildings during 'military operations in urbanized terrain' training at Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji, Japan, March 16, 2022.
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The second approach to pursing the objectives of the National Defense Strategy is campaigning, where the United States will operate forces, synchronize broader Department efforts and align Department activities with other instruments of national power, to undermine competitor coercion, complicate competitors' military preparations, and develop U.S. warfighting capabilities together with allies and partners.
"Readiness for the threats of today is central to campaigning," Hicks said. "Which is why we invest almost $135 billion in military readiness. And while we maintain the ability to respond across the globe, our campaigning efforts will be focused on the Indo-Pacific and Europe."
As part of the Pacific Deterrence Initiative and other regionally focused efforts, Hicks said, the Department will continue to make investments that support the U.S. comparative military advantage and bolster its posture and logistics in the Indo-Pacific region.
Regarding Europe, the FY 2023 budget request supports the European Deterrence Initiative, U.S. European command, and the U.S. commitment to NATO.

Pallet Preps
Marines prepare pallets of body armor, individual first aid kits, and other non-lethal equipment essential to Ukraine’s front-line defenders at Kadena Air Base, Japan, May 6, 2022.
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"America's ongoing support to the people of Ukraine exemplifies these priorities in Europe," Hicks said.
Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, the U.S. has delivered over $3 billion in aid to Ukraine. The president has asked for an additional $33 billion of assistance for Ukraine, $16 billion of which will be for the Department of Defense, Hicks said.
A third approach to pursing the objectives of the National Defense Strategy is the building of an enduring advantage for the joint force involves. That means undertaking reforms that accelerate force development, getting needed technology more quickly, and making investments in the Department's most valuable resource — it's people.


Discussing Options
Air Force Capt. Sarah Miller and Air Force Tech. Sgt. Carrol Brewster, 834th Cyber Operations Squadron, discuss options in response to a staged cyber-attack at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, June 1, 2019.
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"This requires us to invest in our people, like providing the largest pay raise in 20 years to our military personnel, investing in affordable childcare and ensuring their food and housing security," Hicks said.
Beyond people, building an enduring advantage for the joint force also means ensuring service members have the right tools — the best tools — to do their jobs, Hicks said. In the FY2023 budget, some $130 billion has been marked for RDT&E — which is the largest request ever.


Aircraft Repair
J.R. Chapman and David O’Neal, 572nd Commodities Group propeller mechanics, prepare a surface patch to be placed on a C-130J aircraft propeller at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., Feb. 2, 2022. Repair personnel such as Chapman and O'Neil are considered among the Defense Department's most valuable resources.
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"Our budget requests makes the critical investments we need to defend our nation," Hicks said. "But our security depends on more than just dollars. We must outperform and out innovate would-be threats. This means making sure that at the Department we knock down barriers that stymie innovative thinking. Simultaneously, DOD faces external barriers to innovation, like delays in annual appropriations. Moving forward, both inside and outside the five sides of the Pentagon, we must work to find solutions to problems such as these to realize the concepts and capabilities that this century demands."
defense.gov · by DoD News

11.  DOD’s Pacific Plans Aren't Scaled Back to Finance Ukraine Aid, Say Austin and Milley

Excerpts;
In response, Austin said the defense industrial base is meeting DOD “more than halfway” to ramp up production, and weapon stocks were “about right” for U.S. needs.
The Defense Secretary praised lawmakers for passing the president’s $40 billion supplemental defense bill for Ukraine, which now goes to the Senate for approval. He also committed the U.S. to help with Ukraines’ defense for the foreseeable future.
“We’re doing a lot, and, you know, our allies are doing a lot,” Austin said. “And we’re going to continue to do everything that we can for as long as we can to help them defend their sovereign space.”
DOD’s Pacific Plans Aren't Scaled Back to Finance Ukraine Aid, Say Austin and Milley - Air Force Magazine
airforcemag.com · by Abraham Mahshie · May 11, 2022
May 11, 2022 | By
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A hearing of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee drew attention to perceived funding shortfalls in the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy, but Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley said plans to counter China have not been curtailed by the demands to defend NATO and supply weapons to Ukraine.
“Our leadership matters when it comes to Ukraine,” Austin said in his opening statement, citing $4.5 billion in defense assistance to Ukraine since January 2021.
Austin also cited what he referred as the “Contact Group on Ukrainian Security,” which united more than 40 nations for the first time April 26 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, to coordinate and deliver defense assistance for Ukraine’s war effort against Russia.
Then the defense Secretary quickly pivoted to the department’s stated priority in the recently released classified version of its National Defense Strategy (NDS).
“The department’s pacing challenge remains countering aggression from China,” Austin said, noting $6 billion in the fiscal 2023 budget for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI). “We’re going to enhance our force posture, our infrastructure, our presence, and our readiness in the Indo-Pacific, including the missile defense of Guam.”
Still, lawmakers who voted to approve another $40 billion supplemental bill for defense assistance to Ukraine the evening before worried that the Ukraine aid was sapping valuable resources away from America’s Pacific threat.
“In my opinion … the need for military power has not decreased, but we’re choosing to try to plug in some gaps with maybe some nonmilitary capabilities,” said Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.).
The lawmaker worried that the “unanticipated extraordinary costs” of supporting the Ukraine war effort was impacting “what we’re trying to do in this budget for our biggest pacing threat, which is China.”
Some subcommittee members challenged the budget itself. While the NDS calls for air and sea power to confront China, the budget divests 250 aircraft and two dozen vessels.
“I fail to understand how decommissioning 24 Navy ships, divesting hundreds of aircraft, helps us maintain our strategic combat advantage over these threats,” posed ranking member Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.).
Austin countered that the NDS called for significant investments in the capabilities required to compete with China, namely $27 billion in space, $11 billion in cyber, $24 billion in missile defense and $7 billion in long-range weapons, including $4 billion in hypersonic weapons. He also noted modernization of the nuclear triad and $56 billion for airpower platforms and systems.
Womack said the budget called for no permanent force posture increases to the Pacific, and he wondered if “innovation” and “soft power” were meant to supplant the military effort.
“No. 1, I think we have a very sound strategy,” Austin affirmed. “Getting the capabilities of space and cyberspace integrated into our efforts, I think, is really, really key.”
Austin also pointed to efforts to leverage support from allies and partners and again referred to PDI funding, which he said would be used to increase training rotations and infrastructure in the Pacific.
Milley cited a force presence of some 350,000 troops from the U.S. West Coast to west of the international dateline.
“The strategic main effort for the United States military—that is clearly in the Pacific,” the chairman stated. “Even though we are incurring additional capabilities and investments in what we’re doing with Ukraine, it’s not having a significant negative effect on our ability to keep pace with China.”
President Joe Biden has used his presidential drawdown authority to help Ukraine by drawing from U.S. stocks of weapons such as anti-tank Javelin and anti-air Stinger missiles, diminishing U.S. reserves and worrying lawmakers about America’s own self-defense.
In response, Austin said the defense industrial base is meeting DOD “more than halfway” to ramp up production, and weapon stocks were “about right” for U.S. needs.
The Defense Secretary praised lawmakers for passing the president’s $40 billion supplemental defense bill for Ukraine, which now goes to the Senate for approval. He also committed the U.S. to help with Ukraines’ defense for the foreseeable future.
“We’re doing a lot, and, you know, our allies are doing a lot,” Austin said. “And we’re going to continue to do everything that we can for as long as we can to help them defend their sovereign space.”
airforcemag.com · by Abraham Mahshie · May 11, 2022

12. Bombshell health claim about Chinese president Xi Jinping

RUMINT.
Bombshell health claim about Chinese president Xi Jinping
Nick Whigham·News Editor
Thu, 12 May 2022, 8:22 am·4-min read
Rumours are swirling about the health of Chinese president Xi Jinping with unconfirmed reports the leader of the Chinese Communist Party was hospitalised late last year.
Claims have emerged that Xi suffered from a "cerebral aneurysm" which left him hospitalised at the end of 2021.
The Economic Times in India, as well as a number of other publications in the country, have reported on the rumour.
A cerebral aneurysm can lead to the rupturing of blood vessels in the brain.
According to the reports, the Chinese president preferred to be treated with traditional Chinese medicines rather than opting for surgery.

China's President Xi Jinping has turned his country inward and more aggressive. Source: Reuters
Some China watchers have reacted with skepticism over the claims, but it has added to the growing speculation about the secretive leader who has been particularly reclusive during the pandemic.
"Xi hasn’t left China in 21 Months. Covid may be only part of the reason," ran a November headline in The New York Times.
While the report largely put it down to a shift in the internal politics of the country which has increasingly turned inward, the absence of Xi on the world stage has fuelled concerns about the health of the 68-year-old.
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It is the nature of autocracies and their tight stranglehold on information, that leads to such rumours. Similar speculation has surrounded Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, which has gone into overdrive since his invasion of Ukraine.
The intense focus on the leader's health also speaks to the outsized power and control they wield over the country and its politics, with Xi consolidating power in recent years and taking China in an increasingly authoritarian direction.
Four in ten Australians say concern over China is an election issue
Concern about China will impact the way four in ten Australians vote in this month's national election, according to a university survey that also found voters saw the major political parties as equally well placed to handle the relationship with Beijing.
Scott Morrison was keen to put his government's hawkish stance on China at the forefront of the election campaign but has been on the back foot since China officially signed a security agreement with the Solomon Islands.
The Australia-China Relations Institute (ACRI) at the University of Technology in Sydney (UTS) said Australians who say China policy will impact the way they vote are also more likely to express alarm and apprehension about Australia-China relations.
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The university's survey of 2,000 people nationally found 40 per cent said the government's management of China policy was an issue that would impact their vote.
Of these, 78 per cent expressed mistrust of the Chinese government, and 84 per cent said Beijing was willing to use trade to punish Australia over political disagreements.
The survey was conducted March 18-30, a period when the Solomon Islands security pact with China was publicly revealed, worrying Western allies who are concerned it could provide a gateway for a Chinese military presence in the Pacific.
Elena Collinson, senior researcher at UTS:ACRI, said in the report that growing concern about regional instability has been a focal point of the election campaign.

Australians are evenly split between the Liberal Party (36 per cent) and Labor Party (35 per cent) as best placed to handle China policy, the survey found.
There was a six-point rise from a similar survey in 2021 in the number of Australians who see China as a security threat (73 per cent), and an 11-point rise in support for Australian engagement in military conflict between the United States and China over Taiwan (56 per cent).
The findings "serve to underline that this is the most challenging period Australian diplomacy has faced since Japan threatened the East Asian order in the 1930s," the report said.



13. Intelligence-sharing with Ukraine designed to prevent wider war

While we may think our assistance is calibrated, does Putin think it is? Does he recognize that? Or does he believe any assistance is a threat?

This is another example of self deterrence. We act "prudently" (in our minds) to prevent escalation. But is that the reality? Does our prudence prevent escalation? Would we (and the Ukrainians) be better served by going all in to aid the Ukrainian to be successful?

By going all in I do not mean to do it for the Ukrainians or intervene directly with military combat forces. Unlike other conflicts we do not need to worry about us "wanting it" more than our friend or partner. The Ukrainians want it more than anyone. and are willing to fight to be victorious. It is one of many reasons why they deserve our support.

Time will tell.

Excerpts:

“The intelligence is very good. It tells us where the Russians are so that we can hit them,” one Ukrainian official said, using his finger to pantomime a bomb falling on its target.
The United States is not at war with Russia, and the assistance it provides is intended for Ukraine’s defense against an illegal invasion, Biden officials have stressed. But practically speaking, U.S. officials have limited control on how their Ukrainian beneficiaries use the military equipment and intelligence.
That risks provoking the Kremlin to retaliate against the United States and its allies, and heightens the threat of a direct conflict between the two nuclear powers.
The administration has drawn up guidance around intelligence-sharing that is calibrated to avoid heightening tensions between Washington and Moscow. Given to intelligence personnel at the working level, the guidance has placed two broad prohibitions on the kinds of information that the United States can share with Ukraine, officials said.
Intelligence-sharing with Ukraine designed to prevent wider war
By Shane Harris and 
Yesterday at 6:18 p.m. EDT
The Washington Post · by Shane Harris · May 11, 2022
The United States is sending billions of dollars in military equipment to Ukraine, including heavy artillery, drones and antitank missiles. Administration officials have publicly enumerated those contributions, practically down to the number of bullets. But they are far more cautious when describing another decisive contribution to Ukraine’s battlefield success: intelligence about the Russian military.
Information about the location and movements of Russian forces is flowing to Ukraine in real-time, and it includes satellite imagery and reporting gleaned from sensitive U.S. sources, according to U.S. and Ukrainian officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the cooperation.
“The intelligence is very good. It tells us where the Russians are so that we can hit them,” one Ukrainian official said, using his finger to pantomime a bomb falling on its target.
The United States is not at war with Russia, and the assistance it provides is intended for Ukraine’s defense against an illegal invasion, Biden officials have stressed. But practically speaking, U.S. officials have limited control on how their Ukrainian beneficiaries use the military equipment and intelligence.
That risks provoking the Kremlin to retaliate against the United States and its allies, and heightens the threat of a direct conflict between the two nuclear powers.
The administration has drawn up guidance around intelligence-sharing that is calibrated to avoid heightening tensions between Washington and Moscow. Given to intelligence personnel at the working level, the guidance has placed two broad prohibitions on the kinds of information that the United States can share with Ukraine, officials said.
First, the United States cannot provide detailed information that would help Ukraine kill Russian leadership figures, such as the most senior military officers or ministers, officials said. Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, and Sergei Shoigu, the defense minister, for example, would fall into that category.
This prohibition does not extend to Russian military officers, including generals, several of whom have died on the battlefield. But a senior defense official said that while the U.S. government is “self-limiting to strategic leadership on paper,” it also has chosen not to provide Ukraine location information for generals.
The United States is not “actively helping them kill generals of any kind,” the defense official said.
The second category of prohibited intelligence-sharing is any information that would help Ukraine attack Russian targets outside Ukraine’s borders, officials said. That rule is meant in part to keep the United States from becoming a party to attacks that Ukraine might launch inside Russia. Those concerns led the administration to halt earlier plans to provide fighter jets, supplied by Poland, which Ukraine could have used to launch attacks on Russian soil.
U.S. officials have not discouraged Ukraine from undertaking those operations on its own.
Ukraine should “do whatever is necessary to defend against Russian aggression,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a congressional panel last month. He added that “the tactics of this are their decisions.”
Blinken made his remarks after Ukrainian officials said unexplained fires and explosions against sensitive targets in Russia were justified, without claiming responsibility for them.
In addition to the restricted categories of intelligence-sharing, the United States has a rule against providing what officials call “targeting information” to Ukraine. The United States will not, officials said, tell Ukrainian forces that a particular Russian general has been spotted at a specific location, and then tell or help Ukraine to strike him.
But the United States would share information about the location of, say, command and control facilities — places where Russian senior officers often tend to be found — since it could aid Ukraine in its own defense, officials said. If Ukrainian commanders decided to strike the facility, that would be their call, and if a Russian general were killed in the attack, the United States wouldn’t have targeted him, officials said.
Not targeting Russian troops and locations but providing intelligence that Ukraine uses to help kill Russians may seem like a distinction without a difference. But legal experts said the definition of targeting provides meaningful legal and policy guidance that can help the United States demonstrate it is not a party to the conflict, even as it pours military equipment into Ukraine and turns on a fire hose of intelligence.
“If the U.S. were providing targeting information to a foreign party, and we’re closely involved in targeting decisions, we’re directing those forces and they’re acting as a proxy for us,” said Scott R. Anderson, a former State Department official who was the legal adviser for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. “That might be seen as getting close to the line of actually attacking Russia, at which point Russia could arguably respond reciprocally.”
“Targeting intelligence is different from other kinds of intelligence-sharing for this reason,” added Anderson, who is now a fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Ukraine’s sinking of the Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, illustrates how the United States can provide helpful intelligence that, however indirect, risks pulling the country deeper into the war.
In April, Ukraine spotted the vessel off its shores. Information provided by the United States helped to confirm its identity, according to officials familiar with the matter.
The United States routinely shares intelligence with Ukraine about Russian ships in the Black Sea, which have fired missiles at Ukraine and could be used to support an assault on cities such as Odessa, a senior defense official explained. But, the official stressed, that intelligence is not “specific targeting information on ships.” The information is intended to help Ukraine mount a defense. Ukrainian officials could have decided that, rather than strike the Moskva, they should make steps to fortify protections around Odessa or evacuate civilians.
“We did not provide Ukraine with specific targeting information for the Moskva,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a written statement. “We were not involved in the Ukrainians’ decision to strike the ship or in the operation they carried out. We had no prior knowledge of Ukraine’s intent to target the ship. The Ukrainians have their own intelligence capabilities to track and target Russian naval vessels, as they did in this case.”
But absent the intelligence from the United States, Ukraine would have struggled to target the warship with the confidence necessary to expend two valuable Neptune missiles, which were in short supply, according to people familiar with the strike.
The sinking of such an important vessel, and one that had the capability to defend itself against anti-ship missiles, was a humiliation for Russian President Vladimir Putin and one of Ukraine’s most dramatic successes in the war so far, analysts said. In keeping with the intelligence-sharing rules, which are designed to avoid escalating the conflict in Putin’s eyes, Biden administration officials repeatedly stressed they had not directly aided Ukraine in the attack.
On Friday, the day after The Washington Post and other news organizations revealed the U.S. role in the Moskva strike, Biden made separate calls to CIA Director William J. Burns, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, a senior administration official said. The president made clear he was upset about the leaks and warned that they undermined the U.S. goal of helping Ukraine, the administration official said.
Paul Sonne, Ashley Parker and Tyler Pager contributed to this report.
The Washington Post · by Shane Harris · May 11, 2022


14. Russia says Finnish entry to NATO poses threat to which it will respond

Excerpts;
Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chairman of the powerful Security Council, has previously spoken about potentially stationing nuclear-armed missiles in the Russian territory of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea.
Peskov was also asked about comments from Medvedev on Thursday that increasing military support by the United States and its allies for Ukraine risked triggering a conflict between Russia and NATO, with a potential risk of nuclear war. 
He replied that everyone wanted to avoid a direct clash between Russia and NATO, but also repeated a warning from Putin that Moscow was ready to deal "the most decisive response" to anyone who tried to interfere with what it calls its special military operation in Ukraine.


Russia says Finnish entry to NATO poses threat to which it will respond
Reuters · by Mark Trevelyan
LONDON, May 12 (Reuters) - Russia said on Thursday that Finland's bid to join NATO was a hostile move that "definitely" posed a threat to its security.
The Kremlin said it would respond but declined to spell out how, saying this would depend on how close NATO moves military assets towards the 1,300 km (800-mile) Finnish-Russian frontier.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said Russia would need to take "retaliatory steps, both of a military-technical and other nature, in order to stop threats to its national security arising".
"Helsinki must be aware of the responsibility and consequences of such a move," it said.
The Finnish move, which Sweden is expected to replicate, confronts President Vladimir Putin with the very outcome he said his war in Ukraine was designed to prevent - a further expansion of NATO to Russia's borders.
"Finland joined the unfriendly steps taken by the European Union towards our country. This cannot fail to arouse our regret, and is a reason for corresponding symmetrical responses on our side," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Finland's president and prime minister said earlier on Thursday their country must apply to join the NATO military alliance "without delay." read more
Asked whether this presented a threat to Russia, Peskov said: "Definitely. NATO expansion does not make our continent more stable and secure."
Russia's war has led both Finland and Sweden to move towards abandoning their long-held neutrality and seeking the shelter of the alliance's security umbrella.
Asked what form Russia's response would take, Peskov replied: "Everything will depend on how this (NATO) expansion process plays out, the extent to which military infrastructure moves closer to our borders."
Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chairman of the powerful Security Council, has previously spoken about potentially stationing nuclear-armed missiles in the Russian territory of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea.
Peskov was also asked about comments from Medvedev on Thursday that increasing military support by the United States and its allies for Ukraine risked triggering a conflict between Russia and NATO, with a potential risk of nuclear war. 
He replied that everyone wanted to avoid a direct clash between Russia and NATO, but also repeated a warning from Putin that Moscow was ready to deal "the most decisive response" to anyone who tried to interfere with what it calls its special military operation in Ukraine.

Writing by Mark Trevelyan Editing by Alexandra Hudson
Reuters · by Mark Trevelyan




15. COVID claims 1 million U.S. lives

A sad day and a troubling statistic.

COVID claims 1 million U.S. lives
Reuters · by Maria Caspani
NEW YORK, May 11 (Reuters) - The United States has now recorded more than 1 million COVID-19 deaths, according to a Reuters tally, crossing a once-unthinkable milestone about two years after the first cases upended everyday life and quickly transformed it.
The 1 million mark is a stark reminder of the staggering grief and loss caused by the pandemic even as the threat posed by the virus wanes in the minds of many people. It represents about one death for every 327 Americans, or more than the entire population of San Francisco or Seattle.
By the time the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic on March 11, 2020, the virus had claimed 36 lives in the United States. In the months that followed, the deadly virus spread like wildfire, finding fertile ground in densely populated urban areas such as New York City and then reaching every corner of the country.
By June 2020, the U.S. death toll had surpassed the total of the country's military deaths in World War One and it would exceed the American military losses of War World Two by January 2021 when more than 405,000 deaths were recorded.
The disease has left few places on Earth untouched, with 6.7 million confirmed deaths globally. The true toll, including those who died of COVID-19 as well as those who perished as an indirect result of the outbreak, was likely closer to 15 million, the WHO said. read more
Some of the images associated with COVID death are forever burned in the collective mind of Americans: refrigerated trucks stationed outside hospitals overflowing with the dead; intubated patients in sealed-off intensive care units; exhausted doctors and nurses who battled through every wave of the virus.
Millions of Americans eagerly rolled up their sleeves to receive COVID vaccines after distribution began in late 2020. By early 2021, the virus had already claimed a staggering 500,000 lives.
At one point in January of that year, more people died from COVID-19 every day on average than were killed in the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.
COVID-19 preyed on the elderly and those with compromised health, but it did not spare healthy youth either, killing more than 1,000 children. Researchers estimate 213,000 U.S. children lost at least one parent or primary caregiver during the pandemic, taking an immeasurable emotional toll. read more
While nestling in big cities, coronavirus has also ravaged rural communities with limited access to medical care.
1/11
Joseph Neufeld, Jr. looks over caskets of bodies at the Gerard J. Neufeld funeral home during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), April 26, 2020 in the borough of Queens, New York. REUTERS/Bryan R Smith
The pandemic had a disproportionate impact on native communities and communities of color. It hit harder where people lived in congregate settings, such as prisons, and decimated entire families. It exposed inequalities deeply entrenched in U.S. society and set off a wave of change affecting most aspects of life in the United States. read more
With the COVID-19 threat subsiding after the Omicron wave last winter, many Americans have shed masks and returned to offices in recent weeks. Restaurants and bars are once again teeming with patrons, and the public's attention has shifted to inflation and economic concerns.
But researchers are already working on yet another booster shot as the virus continues to mutate.
"By no means is it over," said top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci at a recent event. "We still are experiencing a global pandemic."
TRACKING THE PANDEMIC
Trackng the COVID-19 pandemic is not an exact science. Reuters and the other organizations who make tallies are reaching 1 million U.S. deaths at different times. The variation is due to how each organization counts COVID deaths. For example, Reuters includes both confirmed and probable deaths where that data is available.
The precise toll of the pandemic may never be truly known. Some people who died while infected were never tested and do not appear in the data. Others, while having COVID-19, may have died for another reason, such as a cancer, but were still counted.
The CDC estimates that 1.1 million excess deaths have taken place since Feb. 1, 2020, mainly from COVID. Excess mortality is the increase in total number of deaths, from any cause, compared with previous years.
You can read more about the Reuters methodology for tracking COVID cases and deaths here: https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/en/methodology/
You can find more information on CDC excess deaths here: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/excess_deaths.htm

Reporting by Maria Caspani; Editing by Lisa Shumaker
Reuters · by Maria Caspani


16. The World Should Be Worried About a Dictator’s Son's Apparent Win in the Philippines


Excerpts:
In some interviews, Marcos has let slip that he sees himself as the victim of mainstream media, insinuating that journalists have “their own agenda.” Borrowing a line from Donald Trump’s playbook against liberal media outlets, he has recast as “fake news” legitimate evidence of his family’s ill-gotten wealth. Marcos and his sister, Senator Imee Marcos, have also accused social media giant Facebook of bias in its choice of fact-checking organizations.
Rather than introduce top-down censorship of the press, as his father did during martial law, Marcos Jr.’s strategy will likely involve stigmatizing unsympathetic news outlets. He may support a stratified media ecosystem, split between friendly organizations granted access to the halls of power and critical ones, banished from Malacanang’s antechambers. Philanthropic foreign attempts to bolster the local liberal press, or support democratic organizations and opposition groups, will likely be attacked as unpatriotic by Marcos in the emotive language of nationalism—as Duterte did before him and as Modi does in India.
Tech platforms must now tread very carefully under a leader determined to rewrite his family’s—and the nation’s—history. If they are too hostile, then they might find themselves villainized and restricted, as in other illiberal democracies. Platforms instead need to work collaboratively with academics and legal experts for strategic policy advocacy. Content takedowns and de-platforming alone will not solve the disinformation crisis in the Philippines or elsewhere.
Authoritarian incumbents and exiles around the world are watching the Marcos comeback story with avid interest and have already been given a powerful takeaway. As authors of the first draft of history, the press are Marcos’ first target and an easy one. But his ultimate target is history itself. By recasting himself as the victim of “elite” historians and academics—as the victim, even, of the activists who survived torture and abuse during his father’s dictatorship—Marcos shows that false victimhood claims can effectively appeal to an anxious public when packaged in compelling myth and melodrama.
To fight back, progressive leaders should advance their own counter-narrative and persuasive vision. But first, they must acknowledge their failure to listen.



The World Should Be Worried About a Dictator’s Son's Apparent Win in the Philippines
TIME · by Jonathan Corpus Ong
After a maddening campaign season, which saw a polarized electorate disagree on everything from the methodology of opinion polls to the moral significance of showing up for public debates, voters in the Philippines have elected a new set of leaders.
In unofficial election results announced on Tuesday, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., son and namesake of the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, is leading Leni Robredo, his main rival and leader of the brave yet beleaguered political opposition, by a wide margin. A Marcos Jr. win would complete his once-disgraced family’s resurrection arc.
Exiled to Hawaii three decades ago in the aftermath of a peaceful revolution that overthrew his father’s brutal regime, Marcos and his family are set to return to Malacanang Palace—the presidential residence—with riches intact, new and powerful allies, and a frighteningly bold electoral mandate. Filipino columnist Benjamin Pimentel could only describe this bewildering plot twist in the language of high fantasy: “It’s as if Kylo Ren emerged and the Empire is back in power.”
For a while, the Marcoses were “cancelled” public pariahs. Merely extending a social invitation to a Marcos was the stuff of scandal. But thanks in part to a patient long-term project of brand rehabilitation on social media, and expedient power-brokering with the powerful Dutertes to unify forces against their “liberal elite” rivals, the family has made a successful comeback. Their restoration presents a democratic—indeed existential—crisis for the Philippines.

Late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos stands by as his wife Imelda sings to supporters from a balcony of the Malacanang Palace in Manila, February 25, 1986. Their son, Bongbong Marcos, is at far right. This was the last public appearance by Marcos and his family before exile.
Alex Bowie/Getty Images
The Marcos family’s rehabilitation should not be a surprise
In recent years, many analysts have unfairly caricatured the so-called “surprise” electoral victories of populist leaders as the result of uneducated voters brainwashed by disinformation. But this is reductive. For me, the Marcos victory should instead trigger a hard and honest reckoning of how and why most Philippine voters are willing to delve deeper into authoritarian fantasy and reject the high principles and hero personalities of liberal democracy. It is also reflective of the shared problems of many advanced democracies—and not just those in the global South.
The Philippines may be one of Asia’s oldest and largest democracies, but its continued embrace of strongman leaders is a wake-up call that liberal democracy’s messages of equality and rule of law will eventually run hollow once voters get tired of the same old heroes and political dynasties. The Marcos myths of a strong and stable nation—and of being misunderstood victims who could thus relate with anyone’s social and economic victimhood—would resonate in many countries. They are artfully compelling stories for the young and the excluded.
For too long, progressives have taken for granted that facts in themselves are sufficient. In the case of the Philippines, the liberal weapons of historical accuracy and fact-checking are simply no match for Marcos’ creative folklore, turbocharged by social media fan culture and relatable influencers.
When the opposition finally went to the grassroots and had a dialogue with Marcos supporters, it was inspiring, monumental, and important. It was also too little too late, coming after too many decades of blaming or patronizing the “bobotante” (the dumb voter) and “the masa” (masses). At the same time, I hope such dialogues will turn from a campaign exigency into a sincere, long-term willingness to listen and understand the issues faced by excluded communities, while respecting their own agency and cunning in political participation.
Such a project might help reframe the thorny issue of disinformation and trolling in the Philippines and elsewhere. Rather than scapegoating social media as a technological brainwasher, turning out voters who support populist strongmen, we must consider why communities resonate with, and willingly participate in, myth-making, misinformation, and historical revisionism online. When we actually talk to paid political trolls, we might be surprised as to why this has become a gig for many. We might also consider why progressives have failed to offer hurt and traumatized communities any satisfying narratives to address their concerns, leaving far-right media manipulators to have full control of information voids.

Supporters of Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and running mate Sara Duterte cheer during their last campaign rally before the election on May 07, 2022 in Paranaque, Metro Manila, Philippines.
Ezra Acayan/Getty Images
Marcos and the media
With his family’s comeback decades in the making, Marcos presumably has a heavy axe to grind. Canned slogans of unity and positivity during his campaign might mean that he will eschew any high-profile quarrels with rival political families. However, the incoming president and his family are very explicit about being victims of an important player in liberal democracy: the press.
In some interviews, Marcos has let slip that he sees himself as the victim of mainstream media, insinuating that journalists have “their own agenda.” Borrowing a line from Donald Trump’s playbook against liberal media outlets, he has recast as “fake news” legitimate evidence of his family’s ill-gotten wealth. Marcos and his sister, Senator Imee Marcos, have also accused social media giant Facebook of bias in its choice of fact-checking organizations.
Rather than introduce top-down censorship of the press, as his father did during martial law, Marcos Jr.’s strategy will likely involve stigmatizing unsympathetic news outlets. He may support a stratified media ecosystem, split between friendly organizations granted access to the halls of power and critical ones, banished from Malacanang’s antechambers. Philanthropic foreign attempts to bolster the local liberal press, or support democratic organizations and opposition groups, will likely be attacked as unpatriotic by Marcos in the emotive language of nationalism—as Duterte did before him and as Modi does in India.
Tech platforms must now tread very carefully under a leader determined to rewrite his family’s—and the nation’s—history. If they are too hostile, then they might find themselves villainized and restricted, as in other illiberal democracies. Platforms instead need to work collaboratively with academics and legal experts for strategic policy advocacy. Content takedowns and de-platforming alone will not solve the disinformation crisis in the Philippines or elsewhere.
Authoritarian incumbents and exiles around the world are watching the Marcos comeback story with avid interest and have already been given a powerful takeaway. As authors of the first draft of history, the press are Marcos’ first target and an easy one. But his ultimate target is history itself. By recasting himself as the victim of “elite” historians and academics—as the victim, even, of the activists who survived torture and abuse during his father’s dictatorship—Marcos shows that false victimhood claims can effectively appeal to an anxious public when packaged in compelling myth and melodrama.
To fight back, progressive leaders should advance their own counter-narrative and persuasive vision. But first, they must acknowledge their failure to listen.
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TIME · by Jonathan Corpus Ong


17. Nominee says no strings attached in humanitarian assistance to North Korea

Yes there should be no strings attached for humanitarian assistance.

I wish someone would ask the minister about his vision for the ministry actually conducting detailed planning for unification? That should be the focus and main effoprt of theMinistry fo Unificaiton.


Nominee says no strings attached in humanitarian assistance to North Korea
The Korea Times · May 12, 2022
Unification Minister nominee Kwon Young-se speaks during a confirmation hearing in the National Assembly, Seoul, Thursday. Joint Press Corp 

Unification minister nominee says South Korea ready to help North in fight against COVID-19
By Lee Hae-rin

Unification Minister nominee Kwon Young-se said on Thursday that if he takes the helm in the ministry, he will be willing to help North Korea in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I think using the plight facing North Korea as an opportunity to initiate dialogue is ethically wrong. What I can say now is that South Korea is willing to help the North as it's currently in trouble," he said during a confirmation hearing held in the National Assembly, when asked how he thinks South Korea can help its northern neighbor, which allegedly reported its first official COVID-19 infections on Thursday.

Kwon vowed to prepare for the resumption of humanitarian assistance for the North as the Omicron outbreak will worsen its already poor humanitarian situation.

"Our position is that inter-Korean cooperation in the area of health and quarantine can be launched anytime, if North Korea is willing to accept it. If there's anything we can do in inter-Korean relations or international cooperation to resume cooperation on humanitarian assistance for the North, we are ready to review it," the nominee said.  

He said that the Yoon government would pursue a "no-strings-attached policy" on humanitarian assistance to the North, stressing that medical and health assistance for North Korea's people would be provided anytime, if necessary.
       
Regarding the denuclearization of North Korea, the nominee said he would use both carrots and sticks.

"There are two very different options that we can use to encourage North Korea to achieve denuclearization: one is persuasion through economic assistance and the other is sanctions," he said during a confirmation hearing in the National Assembly on Thursday. "Considering that the North has made its nuclear and missile technologies sophisticated in a relatively short period of time, and employed provocations to get what it wants, I think now is the time for sanctions, rather than appeasement."

Nevertheless, the nominee said that he didn't believe sanctions are powerful enough to convince the North to go for denuclearization, noting that he would propose dialogue and discuss ways to offer a security guarantee and economic assistance to convince the North to give up its nuclear program.

He made the remarks when Rep. Park Hong-keun of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) asked him about how he would engage with the North to achieve denuclearization.

Kwon defended President Yoon Suk-yeol's previous remarks about "a preemptive strike against the North," which he said during the presidential election campaign.
"When you compare the rhetoric of previous presidents before and after they were elected, you can see that there are clear differences between them," Kwon said.

"Regarding Yoon's remarks about a preemptive strike, it's an option that has so many conditions, all of which have to be met before one can choose it as a last resort. So the president didn't mean that he would go for it with his previous remarks."

When asked if President Yoon's vision for North Korea is identical to that of former President Lee Myung-bak, Kwon answered no, and that he didn't believe that Lee's North Korea policy had failed.

Noting that the Yoon government's policy toward the North is different from Lee's, he said Lee's tenure ended without having a proper opportunity to implement his North Korea vision because of the killing of a South Korean tourist on Mount Geumgang, which was followed by the sinking of the South Korean frigate Cheonan in the West Sea.

"Having said that, it's not fair to say that President Lee's North Korea policy failed," Kwon said.

Although the Yoon administration's posture on North Korea is very different from that of the previous Moon Jae-in administration, Kwon said the new government won't oppose the previous government's policies just for the sake of opposing them, noting that policy inconsistency won't help the nation at all.

"Overturning everything that the Moon government did ― that's not going to be very good for our North Korea policy, and it could cause confusion for North Korea as well," he said.

Kwon brought up the example of Germany and explained that the continuity in West Germany's policies toward the East ― despite the fierce criticism from both the governing and opposition parties and the system change ― was the secret to the country's reunification.

However, the unification nominee went on to say that the Yoon government will not continue the parts of the Moon government's policies that were wrong.

During the hearing, Kwon was grilled over allegations of tax evasion and a conflict of interest regarding his family members' overseas business, which he has also invested in. But he denied all the allegations.

A prosecutor-turned-lawmaker, Kwon was nominated by President Yoon as the unification minister for his previous experience as South Korea's ambassador to China during the Park Geun-hye administration.
The Korea Times · May 12, 2022

18. Exploring the Civil-Military Divide over Artificial Intelligence





Exploring the Civil-Military Divide over Artificial Intelligence
by James Ryseff, Eric Landree, Noah Johnson, Bonnie Ghosh-Dastidar, Max Izenberg, Sydne Newberry, Christopher Ferris, Melissa A. Bradley

https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RRA1498-1.html
rand.org · by James Ryseff

Artificial intelligence (AI) is anticipated to be a key capability for enabling the U.S. military to maintain its military dominance. This report presents the results of a survey of software engineers and other technical staff at leading technology corporations and in the defense industrial base to learn their views toward the defense community and their willingness to contribute to AI-related projects for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Research Questions
  1. What factors influence how comfortable and uncomfortable software engineers feel with potential applications of AI for the U.S. military?
  2. Is there a correlation between the degree of trust that software engineers have in societal institutions—specifically, in DoD—and their perception of the acceptability of building AI applications for DoD?
  3. Do software engineers perceive the countries that DoD has identified as strategic competitors as a meaningful threat to the United States?
  4. What types of news media and other sources of information are software engineers relying on to inform them about events related to DoD?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is anticipated to be a key capability for enabling the U.S. military to maintain its military dominance. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)'s engagement with leading high-tech private sector corporations, for which the military is a relatively small percentage of their customer base, provides a valuable conduit to cutting-edge AI-enabled capabilities and access to leading AI software developers and engineers. To assess the views of software engineers and other technical staff in the private sector about potential DoD applications of AI, a research team conducted a survey that presented a variety of scenarios describing how the U.S. military might employ AI and asked respondents to describe their comfort level with using AI in these ways. The scenarios varied several factors, including the degree of distance from the battlefield, the destructiveness of the action, and the degree of human oversight over the AI algorithm. The results from this survey found that most of the U.S. AI experts do not oppose the basic mission of DoD or the use of AI for many military applications.
Key Findings
An unbridgeable divide between Silicon Valley and DoD does not appear to exist
  • Respondents from Silicon Valley technology firms and alumni of universities with top-ranking computer science departments are comfortable with a variety of military applications for AI.
There is a meaningful difference in the comfort level for AI applications that involve the use of lethal force
  • About one-third of respondents from the three surveyed Silicon Valley technology corporations were uncomfortable with lethal use cases for AI.
Tech workers have low levels of trust in leaders—even their own
  • Software engineers and other technology workers have low levels of trust in individuals who hold leadership positions.
  • Technology workers trust CEOs of technology companies almost as little as they trust elected officials or the heads of federal agencies.
Tech workers are most concerned about cyber threats to the United States
  • More than 75 percent of respondents from all three populations also regarded China and Russia as serious threats to the United States.
Tech workers support the use of military force to defend against foreign aggression
  • Survey respondents strongly supported using military force to defend the United States and its NATO allies from foreign aggression, with nearly 90 percent of participants finding the use of military force to be justified under these circumstances.
Silicon Valley tech workers have little personal connection to the military
  • Less than 2 percent of Silicon Valley respondents had served in the U.S. armed forces.
  • Almost 20 percent of software engineers working at defense contractors had previously served in the U.S. military.
Recommendations
  • Mechanisms should be explored to expand collaborations between DoD and Silicon Valley companies regarding threats posed by cyberattacks, a potential application for AI that Silicon Valley engineers see as a critical global threat.
  • Expansion of engagements among personnel involved with military operations, DoD technical experts, and Silicon Valley individual contributors (nonmanagerial employees) working in technical roles should be explored to assess possible conduits for developing greater trust between the organizations.
  • The potential benefits of DoD engaging Silicon Valley engineers on some of the details of how DoD would use AI should be explored; also, review how the military considers the nuanced and complex situations in which AI would be used.
  • The value of establishing opportunities for DoD and Silicon Valley employees to engage over shared values and principles and the potential benefits of doing so should be investigated. The recently published DoD ethical principles for AI demonstrate that DoD itself is uncomfortable with some potential uses for AI: This could serve as the foundation for a conversation with Silicon Valley engineers about what AI should and should not be used for.
  • Another potentially fruitful area for investigation would be assessing the benefits and adapting various types of engagements to help the most innovative and experienced U.S. AI experts learn how DoD accomplishes its mission and discover how their talents and expertise can contribute to solving DoD's and the nation's problems.
Table of Contents
Chapter One
Background
Chapter Two
Survey Design and Survey Populations
Chapter Three
Survey Execution
Chapter Four
Survey Results and Analysis
Chapter Five
Key Findings and Conclusions
Chapter Six
Future Opportunities and Areas for Further Investigation
Appendix A
Survey Methodology
Appendix B
Survey Instrument
Appendix C
Aggregate Survey Results
Research conducted by


19. Russia suffers heavy losses in failed Donbas river crossing


River crossing is most difficult and dangerous. I recall my time in the 3d ID in Germany and the 2d ID in Korea in the 1980s. I think river crossings were part of almost every major field training exercise.


Russia suffers heavy losses in failed Donbas river crossing
Putin's latest battlefield humiliation: Ukraine thwarts Russian battalion's river-crossing and destroys at least 58 vehicles inflicting heavy casualties as Donbas offensive stalls and Kyiv's troops counter-attack
  • Russia was attempting to cross the Donets river at Bilohorivka to surround the city of Lysychansk, in Donbas
  • But Ukrainian engineer claims to have successfully guessed where they would try to cross and laid a trap 
  • Sound of tugboats putting temporary bridge in place triggered a massive artillery and airstrike barrage 
  • Satellite images show bridge was destroyed along with dozens of Russian vehicles, inflicting heavy casualties 
PUBLISHED: 08:20 BST, 12 May 2022 UPDATED: 11:26 BST, 12 May 2022


Daily Mail · by Chris Pleasance for MailOnline · May 12, 2022
Russia has suffered yet another battlefield humiliation after Ukraine successfully thwarted its attempt to cross a river in Donbas, destroying dozens of vehicles and inflicting heavy casualties.
Satellite images lay bare the scale of the failure with the remains of two pontoon bridges drifting in the Donets River at Bilohorivka, west of the city of Lysychansk, surrounded by the ruins of tanks and armoured vehicles.
It appears Russian commanders were attempting to surround Lysychansk - and its sister city of Severodonetsk - with the crossing, but saw their sneak-attack turn into a massacre when Ukraine correctly guessed their plans.
'Maxim', a Twitter user claiming to be a Ukrainian military engineer, says he identified the spot where Russia was most-likely to try crossing the river on May 7 and told his commanders to listen out for the sound of tugboat engines pushing a pontoon bridge into place as a sure sign that a crossing was imminent.
On the morning of May 8 Russia blanketed the river with smoke by burning nearby fields and throwing smoke grenades, he said, but commanders detected the sound of boat engines and called in artillery strikes which caused devastating losses.
It came as Ukraine's generals said Russia's offensive in the Donbass has largely stalled, with Putin's troops forced on to the defensive north of Kharkiv as counter-attacks push the invaders back across their own border.
In a late-Wednesday update, Ukraine's commander said there had been no major attacks around Izyum - where the bulk of its Donbas force is located - or in Mykolaiv or Kryvyi Rih, hundreds of miles to the south, where it has been forced to reinforce its units after taking casualties.
To the north of Kharkiv, commanders said 'occupying forces moved to the defence in order to slow down the pace of the offensive of our troops'. It means the only section of frontline that remains active is around Severodonetsk - where the bridge ambush took place - Donetsk and Mariupol, where Ukrainian defenders are still holding out.

Russia attempted to bridge the Donets River to the west of the city of Lysychansk on May 8, apparently hoping to surround Ukrainian defenders dug in there - but were found out and massacred

Newly-released images of the ambush show dozens of destroyed Russian vehicle littering both banks of the river along with sections of pontoon bridge left floating in the water

The remains of at least three Russian tanks and another four armoured infantry vehicles are seen on one bank of the river, along with other pieces of wreckage poking out from under the water

A Ukrainian military engineer who took part in the operation claims he correctly predicted where the Russians would try to put their bridge, allowing artillery to bombard the area

Observers have so-far counted the wrecks of at least 58 Russian vehicles including tanks, armoured infantry carriers, trucks and even one tugboat that was blown up trying to position the bridge

Ukrainian forces are trying to hold the cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychans'k from Russian troops, which have almost managed to surround them. The river crossing attempt was designed to complete the encirclement, but was foiled
Speaking about the moment the Severodonetsk ambush took place, Maxim said: 'Roughly 20 minutes after recon unit confirmed the Russian bridge was being mounted, heavy artillery engaged against Russian forces, and then aviation chipped in as well. I was still in the area, and I have never seen or heard such heavy combat in my life.
'After one day of combat, 9th May morning the bridge was down. Some Russian forces - roughly 30 to 50 vehicles and infantry - were stuck on the Ukrainian side of the river with no way back. They tried to run away using the broken bridge. Then they tried to arrange a new bridge.
'Aviation started heavy bombing of the area and it destroyed all the remains of Russians there, and the other bridge they tried to make. Rumors say it's 1,500 Russian dead. Their strategic objective was to cross the river and then encircle Lysychansk. They miserably failed.'
Russian troop losses in the bombardment are almost impossible to estimate, but online observers have so-far counted 58 destroyed vehicles including at least seven tanks and dozens of armoured infantry carriers.
At least one tugboat appears to have been wiped out, along with two pontoon bridges left floating in the river with shell-holes visible in the top of them.
It is just the latest defeat for Putin's forces, after a successful Ukrainian counter-attack pushed Russian troops away from the city of Kharkiv and back across the border. It means Ukrainian artillery can now threaten the town of Vovchansk, which contains a key highway and rail line supplying Russian forces in Donbas.
Ukrainian commanders said late Wednesday that Russia's offensive has now halted around Izyum, Kherson and Melitopol as Putin's men are forced onto the defensive after running out of momentum.
If confirmed, it means the only active section of the frontline is in the southern portion of the Donbas - between Severodonetsk and Avdiivka, where limited Russian attacks are taking place - and in Mariupol where Ukrainian troops are still holding out inside the Azovstal steel works.
Though the fight is far from over, a stalled Russian advance and Ukrainian counter-attacks are what preceded Russia's retreat from Kyiv earlier in the war. A similar retreat from Donbas would spell disaster for Putin.
In its Thursday-morning update on the frontline, Britain's Ministry of Defence said: 'Russia's prioritisation of operations in the Donbas has left elements deployed in Kharkiv vulnerable to the mobile, and highly motivated, Ukrainian counter-attacking force.
'Despite Russia's success in encircling Kharkiv in the initial stages of the conflict, it has reportedly withdrawn units from the region to reorganise and replenish its forces following heavy losses.
'Once reconstituted, these forces will likely deploy to the eastern bank of the Donets River, forming a blocking force to protect the western flank of Russia's main force concentration and main supply routes for operations in the vicinity of Izyum.
'The withdrawal of Russian forces from Kharkiv is a tactic recognition of Russia's inability to capture key Ukrainian cities where they expected limited resistance from the population.'
Ukraine announced it will hold its first war crimes trial over the Russian invasion, as Moscow accused Kyiv of shelling a Russian city in the war's latest flashpoint.
The conflict has devastated cities and displaced millions, with fears also growing of its broader international impact as gas supplies to Europe were disrupted by a halt in Russian flows through Ukraine.
Kyiv has repeatedly accused Russian troops of committing atrocities since the invasion began on February 24, and Ukrainian authorities said Wednesday they would launch the first war crimes trial of the conflict.
The prosecutor general's office said Vadim Shishimarin, a 21-year-old Russian service member, is accused of killing an unarmed 62-year-old civilian as he fled with four other soldiers in a stolen car.

Two sections of destroyed pontoon bridge with blast-holes in them are seen floating in the Donets River after a successful ambush by Ukrainian defenders led to heavy Russian casualties

A column of burned-out Russian vehicles sits alongside the remains of what once may have been barns or warehouses on the banks of the Donets River, after a Ukrainian barrage

At least one Russian tank and half a dozen armoured infantry transports are seen scattered through woodland near the Donets River, after a failed crossing led to heavy losses for Putin's forces

Ukraine claims Russia used smoke from fires similar to this one to shroud the crossing, but the sound of tugboat engines pushing the pontoon bridges into place gave the game away and allowed artillery to strikes
'The man died on the spot just a few dozen metres from his home,' said a statement from prosecutor Iryna Venediktova's office.
Shishimarin faces possible life imprisonment if found guilty.
Venediktova's office has said it has received reports of more than 10,000 alleged war crimes, with 622 suspects identified.
The Russian invasion has sparked an exodus of nearly six million civilians, many of whom bear accounts of torture, sexual violence and indiscriminate destruction.
The UN Human Rights Council is due to hold a special session on Ukraine on Thursday.
Moscow has focused on eastern and southern Ukraine since it failed to take Kyiv in the first weeks of its campaign.
Ukraine's forces were boosted by what Kyiv described as the recapture of four villages around the northeastern city of Kharkiv, close to the border with Russia.
In the Russian city of Belgorod, around 70 kilometres (43 miles) from Kharkiv, authorities said one person was killed and six injured by Ukrainian shelling.
Belgorod governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said it was 'the most difficult situation' facing the border region since Russia sent its troops into Ukraine 11 weeks ago.
Authorities in Russian regions bordering Ukraine have repeatedly accused Ukrainian forces of launching attacks.
In April, Gladkov said Ukrainian helicopters carried out a strike on a fuel storage facility in Belgorod.
In southern Ukraine, the pro-Kremlin authorities in the city of Kherson urged Putin to annex the region.
Kherson was the first major Ukrainian city to fall in the current conflict. It lies north of Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.
Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of Kherson's Moscow-installed administration, said there would be a 'request to make Kherson region a full subject of the Russian Federation'.
The Kremlin replied it was up to the residents of Kherson to 'determine their own fate'.
Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak said Kherson would be liberated and 'the invaders may ask to join even Mars or Jupiter'.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has framed his nation's resistance to the Russian invasion as a 'war against tyranny', but the fierce fightback has carried a heavy cost.
In a rare release of battle casualty figures, Ukraine's National Guard said Wednesday that 561 of its members have been killed and nearly 1,700 wounded since the invasion began.
Neither the defence ministry in Kyiv nor its counterpart in Moscow has provided official death counts, but in mid-April, Zelensky said between 2,500 and 3,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed.

Artillery explodes inside the Azovstal steel works in Mariupol on Wednesday, as Russian forces continue their attempts to take the complex - where Ukrainian defenders are staging a last-stand

Smoke rises from the ruins of buildings inside the Azovstal steel works, which has now been under siege by Russia for more than two weeks but has still not been captured

A mostly-collapsed apartment building is seen in Mariupol - a city that has been near-totally destroyed in more than two months of fighting between Ukraine and Russia

A view of part of the city of Mariupol shows that almost every building bears the marks of heavy shelling and fires, after Russia's bombardment near-totally destroyed it

Digging equipment brought in by Russia attempts a clean-up of badly damaged apartment buildings in Mariupol, as those who fled say almost nothing of the city remains
Ukraine's effort to hold the Russian-speaking Donbas region in the east has also become increasingly desperate.
'They come in waves,' volunteer fighter Mykola said of the repeated Russian attempts to push past a strategic river near a rural settlement called Bilogorivka.
Much of the world has moved to isolate Putin as punishment for the invasion.
Russia 'is today the most direct threat to the world order with the barbaric war against Ukraine,' European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in Tokyo Thursday after meeting Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
Kishida, whose government joined the tough measures against Moscow, added: 'Russia's invasion of Ukraine is not just a matter for Europe, but it shakes the core of the international order including Asia. This must not be tolerated.'
Russia has been hit with a wave of punishing economic sanctions that have started to take a toll on its foreign exchange reserves.
Zelensky said Wednesday that he had spoken with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz about boosting penalties on Moscow.
'Step by step we are doing everything to make the aggressor feel the biggest pain from the aggression,' the Ukrainian leader said.
But ramping up the embargoes has not been straightforward, with concern among some nations in Europe that rely on Russian gas.
Kyiv said Wednesday that Russia had halted gas supplies through a key transit hub in the east.
The stoppage caused supplies to plunge by 25 percent in Germany, which is dependent on Russia for its energy and has rejected an immediate full embargo on Russian gas.
The invasion of Ukraine has also prompted Sweden and Finland to consider NATO membership, with Finnish leaders announcing their intention to apply for membership 'within days' on Thursday morning.
Putin is sure to react angrily to the news, having forced Helsinki into a pact of neutrality to ensure its territory could never be used to attack Russia that has held since the end of the Second World War.
Sweden's neutrality goes back even further, to the Napoleonic wars. Stockholm is expected to follow Finland's lead, viewing its neighbour's security as vital to its own.
A Ukrainian commander in Mariupol appealed directly to Elon Musk on Wednesday, asking the world's richest man to intervene on behalf of those trapped by Russian forces in the southern port city.
The war has devastated Mariupol, where Ukrainians have sustained a pocket of resistance at a steel factory.
Iryna Yegorchenko, 43, learned Wednesday that her soldier son Artem had died protecting the Azovstal plant.
'I suddenly felt relieved,' she told AFP.
The 22-year-old was crushed during the collapse of a structure and 'quickly went to God', said Yegorchenko, who lives in Kyiv.
'He decided to defend his homeland, his people... I have nothing to be ashamed of as a mother.'

Russian infantry fighting vehicles open fire with anti-tank missiles during an attack in Kharkiv, before a Ukrainian counter-attack which forced these units back across the border

Tetyana Pochivalova weeps outside her destroyed house in Vilhivka village, north of Kharkiv, which has recently been recaptured by Ukrainian forces counter-attacking in the region

Destroyed houses in Slatino village, north of Kharkiv, in areas which have been recently recaptured by Ukrainian forces

Destroyed houses are pictured in Vilhivka village which was recently recaptured by Ukrainian forces north of Kharkiv

Trashed furniture and other belongings lie outside a destroyed house north of Kharkiv, after it was recaptured by Ukraine

Ukrainian soldiers in front of a damaged Russian BMP on the outskirts of Kharkiv, after successful counter-attacks

Ukrainian soldiers gesture around their anti aircraft missile system near Sloviansk, eastern Ukraine
Daily Mail · by Chris Pleasance for MailOnline · May 12, 2022


20. 50 years after return, Okinawa's strategic importance grows for U.S.

One of our "fixed" aircraft carriers.

As an aside 50 years ago when the return occurred, at midnight on the night of the return road traffic transitioned from driving on the right side of the road to driving on the left side of the road like the mainland of Japan. That must have been quite a thing though I am told by people who were there that it went surprisingly smoothly.

50 years after return, Okinawa's strategic importance grows for U.S.
Kyodo News
Posted at May 12 2022 01:47 PM
WASHINGTON/NAHA, Japan - Fifty years after Okinawa's reversion to Japanese rule, the southern island prefecture has become more important for U.S. forces as a strategic foothold, as China and North Korea move to challenge regional stability.
The prospect of U.S. forces' continued stationing in Okinawa due to the changing security environment, however, has frustrated locals who have long chafed at the presence of foreign troops on their soil and an array of associated problems, such as crimes.
In February, amid growing fears of a Chinese invasion of self-ruled Taiwan, the United States released its "Indo-Pacific Strategy," key guidelines on U.S. policy toward China, stating that Washington will "deter military aggression" against "our allies and partners -- including across the Taiwan Strait."
U.S. Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger's Marine reform program, dubbed "Force Design 2030" and originally released in 2020, envisions enabling small units to maneuver between islands where they could set up ad-hoc bases.
Under this proposal, the 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment was formed in Hawaii in March. Two Marine regiments in Okinawa are expected to be transformed into similar littoral regiments.
"For the Marines, who would engage in a battle first, Okinawa's geographical location is extremely significant," said Yuki Tatsumi, a senior fellow and co-director of the East Asia Program at the Stimson Center, a Washington-based think tank.
Okinawa is home to the bulk of U.S. forces in Japan, accounting for 70 percent of the total acreage exclusively used by U.S. military facilities in the country.
All four branches of the U.S. military have personnel in the prefecture. The Marines have in Okinawa their only Expeditionary Force headquarters outside the United States.
Okinawa fell into U.S. hands in the closing months of World War II in 1945 through the Battle of Okinawa, which began in March that year with the landing of U.S. troops on the Kerama Islands, near the main island of Okinawa.
Around 94,000 civilians, about a quarter of Okinawa's population at the time, as well as over 94,000 Japanese soldiers and about 12,500 U.S. troops died in the course of the battle, according to the Okinawa prefectural government.
Okinawa remained under U.S. rule until May 1972, after Japan regained sovereignty in 1952, leaving many Okinawans feeling abandoned by what they often call "the mainland."
Over the more than seven decades since the war, Okinawa has been impacted by major international events, including the Vietnam War, when the U.S. Kadena Air Base was used as a staging ground for U.S. bombers sent for air raids.
U.S. bases on the island were also used to fly sorties in the 1950-1953 Korean War and the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
The island was also affected by the September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States as shifting military priorities led to efforts to reorganize U.S. forces, including those stationed in Japan.
Kuo Yujen, a professor and expert on Japanese politics and northeast Asian security at Taiwan's National Sun Yat-sen University, said the Marines' Air Station Futenma and the Air Force's Kadena base in Okinawa constitute "a deterrent to China," and a very important one "not only for Japan or for Taiwan, but for the Pacific as a whole."
With the world witnessing Russia's brutal aggression against Ukraine, Kuo says President Vladimir Putin's claims that Russians and Ukrainians form a cultural and historical unity point to the idea of "historical sovereignty" and are "very similar" to what Chinese leaders say about Taiwan.
China considers Taiwan a renegade province that must be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary.
In the years before Okinawa's reversion, with local residents calling for the prefecture's return to Japanese rule without preconditions, officials in neighboring countries were also working to keep U.S. bases in Okinawa.
In 1967, Chiang Kai-shek, who was leading the government in Taiwan, told then Japanese Prime Minister Eisaku Sato that Japan should not rush to see Okinawa returned.
Chiang's Nationalist Party, or KMT, had relocated to the island in 1949 following its civil war defeat to the Chinese Communist Party. Japan maintained diplomatic ties with Taiwan, formally known as the Republic of China, until 1972.
In 1969, as tensions continued between North and South Korea following the Korean War, then South Korean President Park Chung Hee told a press conference that the fate of military bases should not be decided by just the Japanese or between Japan and the United States.
The military dictator, who had survived a raid by North Korean commandos on the presidential office the previous year, asserted that U.S. bases "are absolutely necessary for the security of not only Japan but also the whole of Asia."
Since the beginning of this year, North Korea has conducted a flurry of missile tests, including the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile that fell in the Sea of Japan in March.
According to South Korean media, a U.S. military electronic surveillance aircraft took off from Kadena base on March 15 and flew around the Korean Peninsula to detect missile activity.
Yun Duk Min, former head of South Korea's Korea National Diplomatic Academy, says, "The importance of U.S. forces in Okinawa remains the same, or has even increased."
As new threats emerge, people in Okinawa remain frustrated with noise, crimes and accidents linked to the continued presence of U.S. troops. Their hope to see a reduction of U.S. bases remains an uphill battle.
The Marines' Futenma base, which is vital to the force's readiness for rapid deployment, remains in use more than a quarter century after the two countries originally agreed to return its land to Japan owing to the risks posed to the densely populated residential area neighboring it.
The Japanese government is pressing ahead with a project to build Futenma's replacement base within Okinawa, rather than outside the prefecture, despite strong opposition from local people, including Gov. Denny Tamaki.
In January, activists, experts and other locals set up a group to convey their anti-war message to China, Japan and the United States. The group aims to foster public opinion for dispute resolution through dialogue rather than by force.
"There is an imminent threat of (Okinawa) being turned into a battlefield again," Hiroji Yamashiro, a peace activist and co-head of the group, said at a press conference on the group's launch.
==Kyodo


21. How Starlink Scrambled to Keep Ukraine Online

This was/is an important capability. This is going to be important in all future wars. It is very important that civilians have a means of communication throughout. crisis, conflict, and war. Will Elon Musk be there for us in future conflict?

How Starlink Scrambled to Keep Ukraine Online
Wired · by Condé Nast · May 11, 2022
On March 29, Ukrainian forces rolled into the shattered streets of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, littered with blackened wreckage and dead bodies. The destruction had knocked all 24 of the city’s cell towers offline, preventing traumatized survivors from letting friends and relatives know they were safe. “Most of those base stations had significant destruction,” says Kostyantyn Naumenko, head of radio access network planning and development at cellular network Vodafone Ukraine. Just two days later, with help from Elon Musk, the city was back online.
Irpin was reconnected on March 31 after engineers from Vodafone Ukraine arrived with a circular white satellite antenna known by its manufacturer as Dishy McFlatface—a terminal for the Starlink satellite internet service offered by Musk’s SpaceX. The engineers mounted the receiver and its motorized base to a mobile base station on the edge of Irpin whose fiber-optic connection and power had been severed, and attached a generator. Within hours, the city was back online, and so were its remaining residents. “The first thing they are doing is calling relatives to say that they are safe and sound,” Naumenko says.
The speed with which Irpin was brought back online shows the ingenuity of the engineers involved and the nimbleness with which Ukraine’s government has used Starlink terminals. The country has received more than 10,000 of the devices since Russia invaded, in part thanks to funding and other help from the US government. The terminals have already become central to the country’s response to the war, finding both civilian and military uses.
Courtesy of Vodafone Ukraine
The speedy, widespread rollout of Starlink in Ukraine has also been an unplanned experiment in the potential geopolitical power of next-gen satellite internet services. If SpaceX or similar providers are willing, high-speed internet from the sky could be a powerful way to provide connectivity to people or populations suffering the privations of war or authoritarian government. “In Ukraine you could see immediately that Starlink and other constellations mean you have the opportunity to have a resilient system protected from traditional ground attacks or control,” says Rose Croshier, a policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, a think tank headquartered in Washington, DC. SpaceX did not respond to queries about its work in Ukraine or whether it might offer Starlink in other conflict zones or places where internet access is restricted.
SpaceX has launched more than 2,000 Starlink satellites since 2019 and offers internet service to much of Europe, parts of Central and South America, New Zealand, and southern Australia. It is the most mature of three projects, including one from Amazon, creating a new generation of high-speed internet services using swarms of small satellites in low Earth orbit.
But it wasn’t war that brought Starlink to Ukraine—it was the service’s potential to improve connectivity in a country with vast rural regions. Ukraine’s Ministry for Digital Transformation first made contact with SpaceX several months before the war started, says departmental adviser Anton Melnyk. Starlink executives spoke with Ukraine’s digital minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, about activating the service late in February. Days later, Russia invaded, and Musk’s service became attractive for a different reason.
Two days after Russia invaded, Fedorov tweeted a request for Starlink terminals at Musk. Ten hours later, the SpaceX CEO confirmed that Starlink’s service was “active” in Ukraine. Just two days later, on February 28, Fedorov posted photos of a truck stacked high with Starlink boxes, and himself unboxing a Dishy.
Behind the scenes, SpaceX scrambled to upgrade its service for use on a battlefield. A firmware update enabled terminals to be powered by a car’s cigarette lighter. The company also had to adapt to Russian attempts to interfere with signals between terminals and satellites. Dave Tremper, a director of electronic warfare at the Pentagon, praised the speed with which SpaceX evaded that jamming with a software update. “How they did that was eye-watering to me,” he said at a conference on defense technology, lamenting that US military equipment was not so flexible. “We need to be able to have that agility.”
Starlink’s work in Ukraine also got a boost from the US government. The US Agency for International Development began talking with SpaceX about supporting distribution of its terminals in early March, says agency spokesperson Ashley Yehl. USAID paid to move a shipment of 5,000 terminals to Poland and worked with Ukraine’s government to arrange their final hop across the border. The US government paid for 1,333 of the terminals, with SpaceX picking up the bill for the rest.
The agency disclosed the project in early April, releasing a statement that explained the terminals would allow officials and citizens to communicate with each other and the world “even if Putin’s brutal aggression severs Ukraine’s fiber-optic or cellular communication infrastructure.”
By late April, there were more than 10,000 Starlink terminals in Ukraine, Fedorov said in a Telegram post. On May 2, he tweeted that around 150,000 Ukrainians use the service each day. The technique used to bring Irpin back online is now standard protocol for territory liberated by Ukrainian forces. Nokia has also updated software used on its equipment for cell towers to better support Starlink, Naumenko of Vodafone says.
In the Chernihiv region northeast of Kyiv, fighting destroyed 10 kilometers of cable, knocking a string of villages with about 400 internet subscribers offline, Fedorov says. The local ISP was able to bring them all back online with a single Starlink.
Starlink also reconnected the town of Borodyanka, which was liberated three days after Irpin on April 1. Early the next morning, workers from Ukrainian telco Kyivstar brought in a movable mobile base station with a Starlink receiver attached. Kyivstar has now deployed that solution several times, says chief technology officer Volodymyr Lutchenko. A cell tower connected via Starlink can’t operate at the speed of one linked via optical fiber, but it can still support the calls and mobile data people need to get back online, Lutchenko says.
How Starlink terminals have helped Ukraine’s military is less clear. When asked what proportion of the devices are used by the country’s armed forces, Fedorov replied, through an interpreter, that “most of them are used for civilian purposes.” Those include reconnecting hospitals, ISPs, and some tech companies that have foreign customers.
Other sources depict Starlink terminals functioning as a powerful tool of Ukraine’s military. In March, The Times of London reported that Ukrainian forces used reconnaissance drones linked to Starlink terminals to send targeting information to artillery. In April, The New York Times posted a video of a member of Ukraine’s National Guard saying he was among those trapped under steelworks in Mariupol by Russia’s siege of the city, but was still online thanks to Starlink.
Last week a Twitter account in the name of James Vazquez, who claims to be a US veteran now helping Ukraine’s military, posted a video thanking Musk for Starlink. “It came in very handy today, saved a lot of our asses,” he said, gesturing at a Dishy painted military green and mounted on top of a van. Vazquez did not respond to a request for comment, but his status as someone currently at work in Ukraine has been vouched for by Republican US representative Adam Kinzinger.
Starlink’s success in Ukraine suggests it and other new-generation satellite services could be a powerful tool in conflicts and disasters in other parts of the world, or a way to help people living in places with overbearing internet controls, says Michael Schwille, who works on information warfare policy at the Rand Corporation.
The US government has a long history of supporting technology that can get unfiltered or important information to people seen to need it, Schwille argues, including Radio Free Europe and grants that funded anonymity service Tor and encryption app Signal. “USAID has been in the democracy promotion business for a long time,” he adds. “I’m sure they are thinking about where else this kind of technology could be used.”
Recent events in Kherson, a Russian-occupied city in Southern Ukraine, underline the potential of Starlink to punch through internet restrictions. Ukrainian officials told the Financial Times last week that a fiber-optic cable previously used by Ukrainian ISPs had been rerouted to a Russia-linked provider in occupied Crimea. That could lock residents inside the Kremlin’s increasingly aggressive system of online censorship.
SpaceX’s coverage map shows Kherson firmly inside its service area in Ukraine, suggesting Starlink terminals there could provide an uncensored alternative. Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s space agency, has repeatedly criticized SpaceX and Musk in recent months, and previously alleged that Starlink functions like an arm of the Pentagon, not a commercial service.
Ukraine has been an eye-opening test case for Starlink—but using of satellite internet as a tool of liberation in other parts of the world would likely be more complex. Ukraine invited Starlink to use its airwaves but many countries won't. Croshier from the Center for Global Development doesn’t expect to see Starlink provided in Ethiopia, for example, where people have suffered internet shutdowns as a result of civil war. “It’s a more complex situation that is not directly in the US interest,” she says. Nor would it be simple for Musk to provide Starlink access to China, where his automaker, Tesla, has a factory that might be targeted in retaliation, Croshier says.
Those complexities don’t appear to have convinced Russia or China that they have nothing to fear from Starlink. Officials from both countries have criticized the company’s actions in Ukraine. And the two countries also have plans for their own internet satellite constellations—which will almost certainly be firmly under government control.
Additional reporting by Morgan Meaker.
Wired · by Condé Nast · May 11, 2022


22. Building a Cyber Force Is Even Harder Than You Thought

Excerpts:
Preparing for cyber attacks also requires creating a cyber range. This is a platform for the development and use of interactive simulation environments that can be used for training and capability development. In past years, businesses have increasingly invested in cyber ranges, based on cloud technology. These ranges are either developed on public cloud providers — such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, or Google — or private cloud networks deployed on premises. Cloud cyber ranges generally provide flexible hands-on learning environments with convenient click-and-play scenarios for training. For military cyber organizations, however, the conventional non-cloud-based ranges are generally still preferable, given the need for highly customable simulation environments and bespoke operational testing and training.
In trying to keep up with the fast pace of developments in cyber conflict, much expert commentary has focused on whether cyber effect operations can produce strategic advantages or be influenced by norms. Yet, we first need to address a more fundamental question: When are states actually able to conduct operations in the first place? While the proliferation of military cyber commands suggests major change is afoot in cyber warfare, making these organizations work remains much harder and more expensive than it appears.

Building a Cyber Force Is Even Harder Than You Thought - War on the Rocks
warontherocks.com · by Max Smeets · May 12, 2022
In the past decades, over 40 states have publicly established some sort of military cyber command, with at least a dozen more planning to do so. Yet despite this proliferation, there is still little appreciation of the sheer amount of time and resources that an effective cyber command requires.
In my book No Shortcuts: Why States Struggle to Develop a Military Cyber-Force, I break down the challenges of building an effective cyber command into five categories I call the PETIO framework: people, exploits, toolset, infrastructure, and organizational structure. What does this mean for aspiring cyber powers? First, the most important element of developing an offensive cyber capability are the people — not just technically savvy ones but also linguists, analysts, front-office support, strategists, legal experts, and operation-specific consultants. Second, much attention has been paid states’ deployment of zero-day, or unknown, exploits. However, known exploits and tools can also be highly effective if the attacker has a superior knowledge of their target and their capabilities. Third, infrastructure investments — such as establishing a cyber range for training and testing — are an essential requirement to develop an offensive cyber capability and come at a great cost.
Technical People Aren’t Enough
A widespread view in business management is that as the cognitive skills of a job increase, people — rather than technology — become more important. These “thought jobs,” as Daniel Pink calls them, require greater problem-solving skills and creative thinking, which means that businesses can only be successful if they cultivate a culture that prioritizes the human element. For aspiring cyber powers, this is true for more than just technical experts.
Of course, a military cyber organization needs vulnerability analysts, or bug hunters. These employees search for software vulnerabilities. They also need developers, operators, testers, and system administrators to successfully execute an operation, and make sure capabilities are reliably developed, deployed, maintained, and tested.
But building an offensive cyber capability also requires a more comprehensive workforce. First, frontline assistance is required to support the activities of operators and developers. This can include activities such as registering accounts or buying capabilities from private companies. Second, a military or intelligence organization with the best cyber force in the world is bound to fail without strategic guidance. Operational or tactical success does not equal strategic victory. An operation may be perfectly executed and rely on flawless code, but this does not automatically lead to mission success. For example, U.S. Cyber Command may successfully wipe data off the server of an Iranian oil company without actually securing any change in Iranian foreign policy. An organization can only function if there is a clear understanding of how the available means will achieve the desired ends. An important task of strategists is to coordinate activities with other military units and partner states. They are also involved in selecting target packages, although a separate position is often created for “targeteers.” The targeteers nominate targets, assess collateral damage, manage deconfliction, and help with the planning of the operational process.
Any military or civilian agency conducting cyber operations as part of a government with a legal framework will also deal with an army of lawyers. These legal experts will be involved in training, advising, and monitoring. Compliance with the law of war, the law of armed conflict, and any other legal mandates requires legal training operators, developers, and systems administrators to prevent violations. Legal experts provide planning support as they advise, review, and monitor operational plans. For example, in the planning of U.S. Cyber Command’s 2016 Operation Glowing Symphony, which sought to disrupt and deny ISIL internet usage, these experts helped to specify the notification planmission checklist, and authorization process.
Embedding legal experts at the various stages of a cyber operation is hard. Indeed, it likely requires numerous critical conversations with the leadership and operational teams to ensure they sufficiently understand what is being proposed before they can give approval. Also, the way certain operations are executed makes legal vetting harder. For example, in the case of self-propagating malware like Stuxnet, once you commit, it is difficult to go back.
A diverse group of technical analysts is then needed to process information during and after operations. Non-technical analysts are essential, too, particularly for understanding how people in the target network will respond to a cyber operation. This requires analysts with specific knowledge about the country, culture, or target organization. There is also the need for remote personnel. As security researcher and former NSA employee, Charlie Miller puts it, “Cyberwar is still aided by humans being[s] located around the world and performing covert actions.” In the case of the Stuxnet attacks, for example, a Dutch mole, posing as a mechanic, helped the United States and Israel collect intelligence about Iranian nuclear centrifuges that was used to update and install the virus.
Finally, a cyber command needs administrators for human resourcing, liaising with other relevant domestic and international institutions, and speaking to the media. As Jamie Collier observes, “[G]one are the days when spy agencies did not officially exist” and kept “their personnel and activities guarded surreptitiously away from the public view.” Communication can help to overcome public skepticism. This applies not just to intelligence agencies, but to some degree also to military cyber commands, especially when their mission set is expanding and concerns about escalationnorms deterioration, or allied friction are growing. In addition, being more public facing may help for recruitment purposes in a highly competitive job market.
It Is More Than Just About Zero-Days
The most talked about element of developing an offensive cyber capability are exploits. These fall into three difference categories: zero-day exploits, unpatched N-day exploits, and patched N-day exploits. A zero-day exploit is one that exposes a vulnerability not known to the vendor. An unpatched N-day exploit is one that exposes a vulnerability in software or hardware that is known to the vendor but does not have a patch in place to fix the flaw. A patched N-day exploit is one that exposes a vulnerability in software or hardware that is known to the vendor and has a patch in place to fix the flaw. Oftentimes, attackers must combine multiple vulnerabilities into a chain of attack, known as an exploit chain, to attack a given target.
Much policy attention is devoted to states’ hoarding of zero-days. Jason Healey, a Senior Research Scholar at Columbia University’s School for International and Public Affairs, conducted a study in 2016 to understand how many zero-day vulnerabilities the U.S. government retains. Healey states with high confidence that in 2015/2016 the U.S. government retained “[n]ot hundreds or thousands per year but probably dozens.” This largely corresponds with other reporting. More mature military and intelligence organizations benefit from carefully designed procedures to use their exploits as efficiently as possible.
We should not, however, exaggerate the importance of zero-days. “[P]eople think, the nation-states, they’re running on this engine of zero days, you go out with your master skeleton key and unlock the door and you’re in. It’s not that,” Rob Joyce, then-head of NSA’s Office of Tailored Access Operations, said during a presentation at the Enigma Conference. He continued, “Take these big corporate networks, these large networks, any large network — I will tell you that persistence and focus will get you in, will achieve that exploitation without the zero days. There’s so many more vectors that are easier, less risky, and quite often more productive than going down that route.”
Indeed, for military cyber organizations in particular, the race for N-days is often as important. In deploy N-day exploits, attacks can take advantage of the time it takes to develop a patch and the time it takes to adopt a patch. The average delay in patching an exploit differs based the size of the vendor, the severity of vulnerability, and source of the disclosure. While it takes an average of just over a month for in-production web applications to patch “medium severe vulnerabilities,” it takes vendors on average 150 days to patch vulnerabilities in supervisory control and data acquisition systems. Adopting the patch can also take a considerable amount of time — especially in environments that lack standardization, such as industrial control systems. Partially due to the long lead-time on industrial control-system patching, we have witnessed several prominent attacks against these devices and protocols. For example, in December 2016 a Kremlin-backed hacker group known as Sandworm used malware dubbed CrashOverride or Industroyer to turn large parts of Ukraine dark. To do this, the attackers bypassed the automated protected systems at a Ukrainian electrical transmission substation by using a known vulnerability in its Siemens SIPROTEC relays.
Testing and Infrastructure Matter
There is a widespread belief that launching cyber attacks is cheap while defending against them is expensive. But as Matthew Monte observed, based on his experience in the U.S. intelligence community, “Attackers do not stumble into being ‘right once.’ They put in the time and effort to build an infrastructure and then work through Thomas Edison’s alleged ‘10,000 ways that won’t work.’” This requires infrastructure, an absolutely crucial element of cyber capability that is not talked about enough. Infrastructure can be broadly defined as the processes, structures, and facilities needed to pull off an offensive cyber operation.
Infrastructure falls into two categories: control infrastructure and preparatory infrastructure. Control infrastructure refers to processes directly used to run an operation. These are generally burned down after a failed operation. This type of infrastructure can include domain names of phishing sites, leaked email addresses, or other abused technologies. It also includes command-and-control infrastructure used in remotely conducted operations that maintain communications with compromised systems within a target network. This infrastructure can be used, for example, to keep track of compromised systems, update malware, or exfiltrate data. Depending on the goal and resources of an operation, the command-and-control infrastructure can be as basic as a single server operating on the external network.
More mature actors, however, tend to use more complex infrastructure and techniques to remain stealthy and resilient against takedowns. For example, Russia-based Fancy Bear spent more than $95,000 on the infrastructure they used to target people involved in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. And this is often about far more than just renting infrastructure: An organization may run a whole set of operations just to compromise legitimate webservers to use them for running future operations.
Preparatory infrastructure concerns a set of processes that are used to put oneself in a state of readiness to conduct cyber operations. Rarely will an attacker throw away this infrastructure after a (failed) operation.
One of the most difficult things to do when crafting good attack tools is testing them before deployment. As Dan Geer, a prominent computer-security expert , points out, “Knowing what your tool will find, and how to cope with that, is surely harder than finding an exploitable flaw in and of itself.” Much of the preparatory infrastructure for an attack usually consists of databases used in target mapping. An attacker will need to do a lot of work to find their targets. Network mapping exercises can help an organization understand the range of possible targets, sometimes also referred to as “target acquisition.” Hence, the most mature actors in this space have invested enormous resources in network-mapping tools to identify and visualize devices on certain networks.
There are also other targeted databases. For example, GCHQ maintains a special database that stores details of computers used by engineers and system administrators who work in “network operation centers” across the world. The reason why engineers and system administrators are particularly interesting targets is because they manage networks and have access to large troves of data.
An illustrative, high-profile case is the hack of Belgacom, a partly state-owned Belgian phone and internet provider with the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the European Council as part of their customer base. The British spy agency GCHQ, possibly assisted by other Five-Eyes members, used malware it had developed to gain access to Belgacom’s GRX routers. From there, it could undertake “Man in the Middle attacks,” which made it possible to secretly intercept communications of targets roaming using smartphones. As reporters discovered, the Belgacom Hack, code-named Operation Socialist, “occurred in stages between 2010 and 2011, each time penetrating deeper into Belgacom’s systems, eventually compromising the very core of the company’s networks.”
Preparing for cyber attacks also requires creating a cyber range. This is a platform for the development and use of interactive simulation environments that can be used for training and capability development. In past years, businesses have increasingly invested in cyber ranges, based on cloud technology. These ranges are either developed on public cloud providers — such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, or Google — or private cloud networks deployed on premises. Cloud cyber ranges generally provide flexible hands-on learning environments with convenient click-and-play scenarios for training. For military cyber organizations, however, the conventional non-cloud-based ranges are generally still preferable, given the need for highly customable simulation environments and bespoke operational testing and training.
In trying to keep up with the fast pace of developments in cyber conflict, much expert commentary has focused on whether cyber effect operations can produce strategic advantages or be influenced by norms. Yet, we first need to address a more fundamental question: When are states actually able to conduct operations in the first place? While the proliferation of military cyber commands suggests major change is afoot in cyber warfare, making these organizations work remains much harder and more expensive than it appears.
This essay is based on No Shortcuts: Why States Struggle to Develop a Military Cyber-Force, published with Oxford University Press and Hurst Publishers in May 2022.
Max Smeets is a senior researcher at the Center for Security Studies at ETH Zurich and director of the European Cyber Conflict Research Initiative,
Image: Joseph Eddins, Airman Magazine
warontherocks.com · by Max Smeets · May 12, 2022
23. FDD | IRGC-Controlled Iranian Airline Makes Unexplained Flights to Russia Amidst Invasion of Ukraine


Excerpt:

While it remains unclear what exactly Qeshm Fars Air is ferrying to Russia, the uptick in flights raises concerns that the IRGC may be assisting Moscow’s war effort in Ukraine, where the Russian military has committed mass atrocities. If proven, this would offer an additional reason not to remove the IRGC from the U.S. list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. The U.S intelligence community should closely watch the increased freighter air traffic between Tehran and Moscow to determine the exact nature of the cargo transported.
FDD | IRGC-Controlled Iranian Airline Makes Unexplained Flights to Russia Amidst Invasion of Ukraine
fdd.org · by Emanuele Ottolenghi Senior Fellow · May 11, 2022
The U.S.-sanctioned Iranian airline Qeshm Fars Air has flown to Moscow at least seven times since mid-April after having made that trip only twice last year, according to the flight tracking service FlightRadar24. The airline’s sudden uptick in cargo flights to Moscow may reflect Iranian efforts to support Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Qeshm Fars Air in 2019 for being operated by the already sanctioned Iranian carrier Mahan Air and for carrying weapons and fighters to Syria on behalf of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which is also under U.S. sanctions. Qeshm Fars Air continues to fly the Tehran-Damascus route on behalf of the IRGC, helping the Guard sustain its military presence in Syria and supply advanced weaponry to Iran’s proxy terrorist group in Lebanon, Hezbollah.
Qeshm Fars Air’s illicit activity likely goes beyond Syria. It has also regularly traveled to Venezuela in the past two years, likely ferrying Iranian weapons and helping Tehran and Caracas evade U.S. sanctions. During the conflict between Ethiopia’s central government and Tigray rebels, Qeshm Fars Air aircraft flew to Addis Ababa at least seven times from June to December 2021, alongside Pouya Air, another U.S.-sanctioned Iranian airline. In the past two months, Qeshm Fars Air cargo has also regularly landed in New Delhi, Macau, Myanmar, and Tajikistan. Reports suggest that in at least some of these instances, Iran is using the airline either to transport military equipment or to help partners evade sanctions.
Qeshm Fars Air’s flights to Moscow may fit into this pattern. The first recorded flight occurred on April 15, three days after The Guardian reported that Iran had transferred rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank missiles, multiple-launch rocket systems, and surface-to-air missile systems to Russia by ship through the Caspian Sea. The Qeshm Fars Air cargo aircraft in question (registration: EP-FAA), can carry up to 250 tons of cargo, depending on the flight’s distance. Supplies of weapon systems and parts could help Russia replace some of its extensive battlefield losses as Western sanctions hamper Russia’s ability to produce weapons domestically.
Qeshm Fars Air could also be helping transport Syrian mercenaries to Russia, especially considering that the airline’s flights to and from Damascus are ongoing. The Pentagon confirmed in early March that Moscow has sought to recruit fighters from Syria to help compensate for Russia’s shortage of manpower in Ukraine. Alternatively, Iran could be assisting Russia in its reported transfer of forces and equipment currently deployed in Syria for use in Ukraine.
While it remains unclear what exactly Qeshm Fars Air is ferrying to Russia, the uptick in flights raises concerns that the IRGC may be assisting Moscow’s war effort in Ukraine, where the Russian military has committed mass atrocities. If proven, this would offer an additional reason not to remove the IRGC from the U.S. list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. The U.S intelligence community should closely watch the increased freighter air traffic between Tehran and Moscow to determine the exact nature of the cargo transported.
Emanuele Ottolenghi is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), where he contributes to FDD’s Iran Program and Center on Economic and Financial Power (CEFP). For more analysis from Emanuele, the Iran Program, and CEFP, please subscribe HERE. Follow Emanuele on Twitter @eottolenghi. Follow FDD on Twitter @FDD and @FDD_Iran and @FDD_CEFP. FDD is a Washington, DC-based, nonpartisan research organization focused on national security and foreign policy.
fdd.org · by Emanuele Ottolenghi Senior Fellow · May 11, 2022

24. The War in Ukraine Will Be a Historic Turning Point

What about Asia? Why just the US and Europe? China is a major part of this essay. What about the like minded democracies of Asia working with the US and Europe? 

Excerpts:

The larger objective should be to finally implement the promise of being “partners in leadership” that U.S. President George H.W. Bush offered to German Chancellor Helmut Kohl in 1989. The cooperation between the EU and the United States in imposing sanctions on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine in 2014-15 was an example of such a partnership, as the sanctions were coordinated and synchronized. The JCPOA was another example—that is, until the United States unilaterally bowed out. Other crises in addition to the Russian aggression against Ukraine demand collective attention and joint action, including in the Middle East, the Horn of Africa, and the Sahel. So, too, does the future of Afghanistan and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; the United States has largely tried to extract itself from both hotspots, which is a mistake. It would be a welcome gesture by the Biden administration, for instance, to revitalize the Middle East peace process by breathing fresh life into the Middle East Quartet, the grouping of Russia, the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations that was founded in 2002 to push for a two-state solution and a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Only more multilateral engagement—not Trump’s unilateralism nor Obama’s disengagement—will work to ensure the whole region does not become more volatile.
Biden can help nurture a global alliance of countries that commit to the respect of international law. This will demand from the United States a change in its mindset; it must coordinate with its partners more systematically and treat the preservation of international law as the basis for all its actions. For Germany in particular and Europe more broadly, it is time to shoulder more responsibility, to provide for sufficient military and civilian instruments of crisis management, to take the lead in the resolution of international crises, and to reach out to partners outside their immediate neighborhood. The fault lines today are not those between the West and the communist East, as they were during the Cold War. They are between those who adhere to a rules-based international order and those who adhere to no law at all but the law of the strongest.

The War in Ukraine Will Be a Historic Turning Point
But for History to Take the Right Path, America and Europe Must Work Together
May 12, 2022
Foreign Affairs · by Christoph Heusgen · May 12, 2022
The Russian invasion of Ukraine marks a turning point in history. It brings to a close the chapter that began at the end of the Cold War, when Western countries tried to integrate Russia into an international rules-based order. Russia under President Vladimir Putin has become a pariah state. Much as it did when facing down the Soviet Union during the Cold War, the United States has taken the lead in countering Putin‘s blatant attack on civilization.
Many countries support the U.S.-led response to Putin’s war, but some do so grudgingly. Too many governments see the conflict as a return to the days of the Cold War, when they were forced to choose sides. They imagine that what is at stake is the collision of two geopolitical rivals, not a fundamental question of principle. This is deeply unfortunate. Russia’s aggression should not be seen as ushering in a new Cold War but simply as what it is: the worst act of aggression in Europe since the end of World War II and a brutal violation of international law.
History will not turn in a positive direction on its own. The United States, which has at times undermined international law in its foreign policy choices, should commit to the upholding of the norms and laws that define the international rules-based order. The burden of addressing violations of international law has to be divided more evenly. Germany‘s new chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has described this moment as a Zeitenwende, a historical turning point. Along with other European countries, Germany needs to step up to the plate and significantly increase its defense spending, improve its readiness to help maintain stability in and around Europe, and take on a leadership role in resolving international conflicts.
This effort requires a global alliance. The partnership among countries that commit to international law and its foundational texts, the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, should comprise countries from all continents. The international community should not be a euphemism for the West. The perception that there continues to be a conflict between “the West” and “the East” allows too many countries to sit on the fence. The fault line really lies between those who seek to reaffirm a principled, global moral and legal order, and those who do not. A new global alliance should stand tall in its uncompromising efforts to protect international law, international humanitarian law, and human rights law.
PLAYING BY THE RULES
In December 2018, when I was serving as Germany’s ambassador to the UN, I and nearly all of my fellow representatives received a note from Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the UN. The message said that if we voted in favor of a resolution in the General Assembly that condemned the United States’ plan to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, she would report us to U.S. President Donald Trump. I was stunned. I asked to see Haley, with whom I was friendly. She received me, and I explained to her my incredulous reaction to her note.

I was born in 1955, ten years after the Holocaust and World War II. I grew up in a divided Germany. Only because of the generosity and wisdom of the allied forces did Germany, after the horrendous crimes it had committed, receive a second chance. Thanks to allied persuasion, West Germany agreed to be better behaved, never again violate international law, and solve its conflicts with others peacefully. The German constitution was carefully drafted in 1949 and received the approval of the allies; it upheld respect for the law and abjured the unilateral use of force to resolve problems. The European Union was founded in 1957 on the same principle that differences could be managed through institutions and legal procedures—through the rule of law, not the law of the strongest. This premise afforded the center of Europe its longest period of peace in history.
I explained all this to Haley. And I asked her if she understood why I was surprised by the fact that she had demanded we ignore international law. Now it was her turn to be stunned. She asked her adviser what he thought. He stuttered and admitted that I was correct: UN Security Council Resolution 478 had asked all countries not to place their embassies in Jerusalem. He knew that UN Security Council resolutions were legally binding. The conversation quickly turned to another issue.
Adherence to international law has afforded the center of Europe its longest period of peace in history.
During Germany’s tenure on the Security Council between 2019 and 2020, the United States repeatedly violated UN Security Council resolutions, including by withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA); recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights; and recognizing Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara. The United States also withdrew from the World Health Organization, the Paris climate change agreement, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN cultural body. Trump advanced a narrow-minded “America first” policy instead of a global view of the common good.
But I was surprised by the successor Trump appointed to replace Haley in 2019: Kelly Craft. Although the Trump administration officially considered climate change a hoax, Craft understood that the climate crisis was a serious issue. She came out strongly in support of UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the United Nations. In 2020, she and I joined forces in upholding human rights by rallying dozens of countries to condemn China’s treatment of its Uyghur minority. As a result of that vote in the UN, the director general in charge of minority issues in the Chinese foreign ministry was reportedly fired. Craft and I had helped create an alliance that stretched from Albania to New Zealand and that was ready to stand up for the rule of law and for human rights.
Craft and I also joined forces to challenge China and Russia on another dismal human rights situation: Syria. I chaired the Security Council in July 2020, when it considered the renewal of the resolution that legalized UN border crossing points through which aid reached northwestern Syria. The UN program was a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of refugees and for local people in parts of Syria cut off from aid. Russia, supported by China, wanted to terminate the UN presence, insisting on the sovereignty of the Bashar al-Assad regime over the whole Syrian territory. It came to a showdown in the Security Council. Russia and China did veto the resolution, but thanks to internal and external pressure, both countries ultimately agreed to a solution that allowed for a minimum of help to be delivered to the people who desperately needed it.
This is the kind of cooperation a global alliance needs to pursue: a shared policy that upholds international law, humanitarian priorities, and human rights. Yes, it can be a painful process coordinating with partners to find a common solution, but it’s the only way forward for this alliance to continue to hold the upper hand in the conflict with autocracies such as Russia and China, which consciously violate international law in suppressing their own people and in bullying their neighbors.
STEPPING UP TO THE PLATE
China and Russia want to rewrite the international rule book by insisting on national sovereignty being the most important legal principle, one that trumps international law, humanitarian law, and human rights law. Against this backdrop, countries committed to upholding international legal regimes have to join forces. They have to do it on the basis of real partnership. In this respect, the Biden administration’s reaction to Russia’s aggression was exemplary: since late December 2021, President Joe Biden and his team have gone out of their way to coordinate the response to Putin with an alliance that reaches beyond NATO and the EU. Out of 193 countries, only Belarus, Eritrea, North Korea, and Syria supported Russia in the March vote at the General Assembly that condemned Putin’s invasion.

The new German government demonstrated some reluctance to fully join in possible sanctions, but Washington reacted with patience and allowed the Germans to iron out differences internally and eventually join the consensus in favor of sanctions. Germany, the world’s fourth-largest economy, has to strengthen its international role. It began to do so under former Chancellor Angela Merkel. Germany is the second-largest financial contributor to the UN system, a major source of support for the organization that underpins the international rules-based order and is the only entity that can deal with global challenges. Together with France, Germany helped negotiate the Minsk agreement with Russia and Ukraine that stopped Russia’s 2014-15 invasion. Together with the UN secretary-general, Germany organized the 2020 Berlin Conference on Libya, the outcome of which served as basis for the end of fighting there and opened a track toward a political resolution of the conflict. Germany is part of the group of countries that under EU leadership negotiated the Iran nuclear deal. Merkel was the driving force behind the G-20’s Compact with Africa, which directed international attention toward the continent by inviting selected African countries to the G–20 summit in Hamburg in 2017.
Cycling near Kharkiv, Ukraine, May 2022
Serhii Nuzhnenko / Reuters
But countries clearly expect more of Germany. When I worked as a diplomatic adviser to Merkel and as Germany’s ambassador to the UN, I was impressed by the many requests from representatives of other countries who asked for more German leadership in areas as disparate as the western Balkans, eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Sahel, Central Asia, and even Latin America. Of course, they appreciated Merkel and her steady hand, but they also respected Germany’s commitment to a foreign policy that was neither paternalistic nor neocolonialist. Countries recognize that Germany delivers much of its financial aid directly to UN agencies; it seeks to support development and peacekeeping goals without extracting anything immediate in return.
Scholz’s government has pledged that Germany will assume more responsibility on the international stage. Germany can promote stability in the Balkans, eastern Europe, Central Asia, the wider Middle East, and Northern and sub-Saharan Africa through energetic diplomacy, holding conferences, hosting key players, and engaging others with all the peaceful instruments at its disposal. Scholz has also promised to strengthen Germany’s commitment to the European Union. Germany as a country can do much to support and help stabilize Europe’s wider neighborhood, but only a stronger European Union can make a difference globally.
THE TROUBLE WITH EXCEPTIONALISM
The United States remains the most powerful global democratic actor, but it also presents a major challenge. In 2019, I complained to a member of the Trump administration about the disrespect it showed to the Security Council resolutions adopted during the time of the Obama administration. The official replied that his administration considered as null and void those international obligations entered into by its predecessor. Again, I was stunned. I had bumped into a particularly stubborn brand of American exceptionalism, the idea that the United States exists above the rest of the world—and above the rules of the rest of the world. To be sure, the United States throughout the twentieth century promoted democracy and the rule of international law. But it still has difficulties accepting that it, too, is subject to that law, as evidenced by its actions in the Vietnam War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, as well as by its abuses in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
The rules-based international order will prevail only if the United States commits to it. The United States in the twenty-first century is no longer the one superpower that can control developments worldwide, that has the capability and the domestic backing to intervene globally. Without real coordination with its allies, the Biden administration rushed out of Afghanistan in 2021, implementing the awkward deal set in motion by the Trump administration and leaving the Afghan population in the hands of the Taliban, who don’t respect basic human rights, in particular those of women. Many of my American friends didn’t see any problems with the chaotic and unilateral nature of the withdrawal. They didn’t take issue with how the Afghan republican government found itself in an impossible (and doomed) situation, nor with how the withdrawal caught U.S. allies off guard. The feeling of my friends was that a swift withdrawal was necessary to concentrate on the many challenges the country faced at home: education, health, infrastructure, income disparity, and so on. The U.S. departure from Afghanistan was a clear demonstration of its gradual withdrawal from international crisis management and a call to action for others: a wider global alliance, including Germany, must fill the gap.
The rules-based international order will prevail only if the United States commits to it.
A reluctance to act has cost the United States in the past. To many U.S. allies, the Obama administration’s decision not to intervene militarily in Syria in 2012—even after the Assad regime crossed Washington’s red line by employing chemical weapons against its own people—was a turning point. Obama hesitated, remembering the U.S. experiences in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, all countries where military interventions didn’t yield the desired results but led instead to drawn-out operations, enormous human and financial costs, and continued turmoil. The United States’ major rivals, China and Russia, took notice—and took advantage of Obama’s passivity. Since then, they have aggressively enlarged their sphere of influence and ruthlessly violated international law—Russia in Ukraine, Libya, and Syria, and China in Hong Kong, the South China Sea, and in its policy toward minority groups, including the Uyghurs. The volatility of the Trump administration did nothing to curb the expansionist ambitions of Beijing and Moscow.

To be sure, U.S. leadership on the world stage is not just about projecting military power. Committed diplomacy underpins the rules-based order. Take, for example, the Iran nuclear deal. Years of intensive and very complicated negotiations led to the signing of the JCPOA in 2015. Iran adhered to the agreement, scaled down its nuclear activities, and allowed the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect its nuclear facilities. The immediate danger of Iran obtaining a nuclear bomb was defused. UN Security Council Resolution 2231 endorsed the JCPOA and gave it the legitimacy of international law. The deal was a masterpiece of diplomacy: no other major international agreement in recent years has brought together so many major powers: China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union. It prevented a possible war in the region. Of course, the deal was not perfect. The brutal authoritarian regime in Tehran remained in place, and there was no guarantee that it would give up any of its destructive regional policies.
Unfortunately, the Trump administration decided to trash the deal, violating international law and further diminishing trust in the United States. The conflicts in the region worsened; the situation in Yemen deteriorated, the Iranians increased their support for Hezbollah in Lebanon and for the Assad regime in Syria, and they continued to undermine the Iraqi government. Instead of working with the United States, the European partners scrambled to convince the Iranian regime not to abandon the deal. It was a diplomatic nightmare for the Europeans, who effectively had to work with Iran against the United States.
Biden declared before taking office that he was ready to return to the JCPOA. But instead of immediately lifting sanctions on Iran, as the United States had committed to when signing the deal, the Biden administration started a negotiating process to get the Iranians to scale back their activities which were in violation of the JCPOA. This tactic—again, not coordinated with allies—was easier formulated than implemented. The Iranians felt they had already been cheated and that the United States needed to make concessions first. The prospects for a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear challenge are dwindling. Any new deal reached will be worse than the original JCPOA. The current predicament is a reminder to U.S. officials that they should take international law more seriously and they should abide by it.
A BIGGER TENT
The war in Ukraine presents another crossroads for the international rules-based order—and for the U.S. role in global affairs. It was without a doubt positive that the Biden administration took the lead in countering Putin’s violent aggression. The vote in the General Assembly in March condemning the invasion was a demonstration of international unity. But that solidarity is not as strong as it seems. In many countries, including major democracies such as Brazil, India, and South Africa, the conflict is seen as a return to a Cold War dynamic that pits the United States and “the West” against Russia. Many people around the world perceive double standards in the U.S. response: by invading Iraq, for instance, the United States was also culpable of violating international law and the sovereignty of another country. The global economy is taking a downturn, energy prices are soaring, food is becoming scarcer and more expensive. Many of those affected see this as a consequence of U.S.-led “Western” sanctions on Russia.
That is why a better response to Putin’s war and similar violations of the UN Charter in the future would be a collective one, orchestrated by partners from all over the world that adhere to and seek to protect the fundaments of international law. Beyond the United States, this would require more from like-minded countries, including the G-7 countries and those governments from all continents that commit to the rule-based order on the basis of the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The larger objective should be to finally implement the promise of being “partners in leadership” that U.S. President George H.W. Bush offered to German Chancellor Helmut Kohl in 1989. The cooperation between the EU and the United States in imposing sanctions on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine in 2014-15 was an example of such a partnership, as the sanctions were coordinated and synchronized. The JCPOA was another example—that is, until the United States unilaterally bowed out. Other crises in addition to the Russian aggression against Ukraine demand collective attention and joint action, including in the Middle East, the Horn of Africa, and the Sahel. So, too, does the future of Afghanistan and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; the United States has largely tried to extract itself from both hotspots, which is a mistake. It would be a welcome gesture by the Biden administration, for instance, to revitalize the Middle East peace process by breathing fresh life into the Middle East Quartet, the grouping of Russia, the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations that was founded in 2002 to push for a two-state solution and a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Only more multilateral engagement—not Trump’s unilateralism nor Obama’s disengagement—will work to ensure the whole region does not become more volatile.
Biden can help nurture a global alliance of countries that commit to the respect of international law. This will demand from the United States a change in its mindset; it must coordinate with its partners more systematically and treat the preservation of international law as the basis for all its actions. For Germany in particular and Europe more broadly, it is time to shoulder more responsibility, to provide for sufficient military and civilian instruments of crisis management, to take the lead in the resolution of international crises, and to reach out to partners outside their immediate neighborhood. The fault lines today are not those between the West and the communist East, as they were during the Cold War. They are between those who adhere to a rules-based international order and those who adhere to no law at all but the law of the strongest.
Foreign Affairs · by Christoph Heusgen · May 12, 2022



25. World War II Is All That Putin Has Left


Excerpts:
In practice, Putinism is a powerful but ultimately empty ideology. Its propaganda divides people from one another, creates suspicion, and promotes apathy. State media put forth multiple nonsensical explanations for reality, including multiple nonsensical reasons for the invasion of Ukraine. In different tellings, Ukraine, a democratic state led by a Jewish president, is “Nazi,” is Russian, is a Western puppet, is nonexistent. Alongside these stories, Russians are spoon-fed cynicism, mockery, and nihilism. They are told endless tales about the glorious past, but given hardly anything to hope for in the terrifying future. They have no idea who or what could follow the Putin regime, or what that would mean for them. They support him because nothing else is on offer. But support does not translate into excitement. Neither he nor his war stories seem able to create enthusiasm for another Great Fatherland War.
Perhaps that was why Putin chose to mark May 9 perfunctorily. He did not, as some expected, declare victory in Ukraine. Nor did he call for an all-out mobilization. He did not issue a call to arms or speak at length about a glorious invasion either. Instead, he repeated, again, that the Russians had no choice but to launch their special military operation in Ukraine, as if some law of history had ordered it. He implied, again, that Russia is the real victim. He left out the true stories, the emotion, the evocative details that would actually inspire people to feel something, about either the old war or the new one.
If he wants to expand the current conflict—if he wants to persuade millions of people to sacrifice their lives and their fortunes to fight across Europe once again—he will need to provide a far more powerful motivation, a far deeper reason to fight, something other than this war’s alleged resemblance to a past tragedy. But he doesn’t have that kind of motivation to offer, or at least not yet.
World War II Is All That Putin Has Left
The regime offers Russians little more than selective memories of Soviet-era military triumph.
The Atlantic · by Anne Applebaum · May 11, 2022
In Soviet films, on Soviet posters, in Soviet poetry and songs, the typical Red Army soldier was hale and hearty, simple and straightforward, untroubled by trauma or fear. He cheerfully marched all day, slept on the ground at night, never complained, and never even used swear words. When the British historian Catherine Merridale was collecting the lyrics of Red Army songs for her 2005 book, Ivan’s War, she ran into a wall: Even decades later, ethnographers and veterans could not or would not share with her any satirical, obscene, or subversive lyrics, because no one dared to repeat “disrespectful versions” of the sainted soldiers’ songs.
In the official accounts, the Red Army soldier did not brutalize civilians, rape women, or loot property either. Famously, a staged photograph of soldiers waving a Soviet flag on top of the Reichstag in May of 1945 had to be doctored, because one of them was wearing two wristwatches (they were stolen from Germans; Soviet soldiers typically did not own several wristwatches). Many years later, when another British historian, Antony Beevor, published archival evidence of looting—children as young as 12 traveled to Berlin for that purpose—and the mass rape of 2 million German women, the Russian ambassador to the U.K. accused him of “lies, slander, and blasphemy.”
But plenty of Russians already knew the truth. Stories of the horrors of the war, experienced by veterans as well as those who stayed at home, were passed down within families. Ambivalent memories persisted. Not long after the war ended, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, himself a former member of the Red Army battalions that had rampaged across the German region of East Prussia, composed a poem describing what he had witnessed:
The little daughter’s on the mattress,
Dead. How many have been on it
A platoon, a company perhaps?
A girl’s been turned into a woman,
A woman turned into a corpse.
Neither Solzhenitsyn nor Beevor nor Merridale described these things in order to minimize the heroism of the Soviet soldiers who fought Hitler’s armies from the depths of Russia all the way to the center of Berlin. The historical record of the damage the U.S.S.R. did to Central Europe in the postwar era does not negate the horrors that German soldiers inflicted on the citizens of the territories that they occupied earlier on. But that record does form part of the real story of the war, a story far more nuanced than the cartoon version of the Great Fatherland War that the Russians are now presented with every year during the May 9 victory parade.
That cartoon was on display once again this week. This year’s war commemoration even had a rote, empty quality, as if the Russian state is no longer capable of offering its citizens anything more than cardboard nostalgia—but also as if it assumes those citizens need little else. President Vladimir Putin made a short, dishonest speech about his invasion of Ukraine, just barely alluding to the costs and casualties. Soldiers waved Soviet flags. Spectators saw less military equipment than last year (and no air show at all), but tanks, trucks, and intercontinental ballistic missiles still paraded across Red Square. Mini celebrations unfolded around the country, at least one featuring Russian children singing, “Uncle Vova, we are with you”—Uncle Vova being Putin—followed by one-armed salutes. Even as Russia carries out a brutal war of aggression, one in which Russian soldiers are once again committing terrible crimes against a civilian population, the whole occasion was permeated with a sense of grievance, as if Russia were the only real victim of both conflicts.
This particular World War II cult was not inevitable; it is the result of a set of decisions, a deliberate effort to change the course of what had been an open conversation, starting in the late 1980s. In 1992, President Boris Yeltsin even informed Russians that the conflict did not begin, as their textbooks had long told them, on June 22, 1941, when Hitler’s Germany invaded the Soviet Union. In fact it began earlier, in September 1939, when Hitler’s Germany and the Soviet Union simultaneously invaded Poland. Yeltsin published the secret clauses of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, signed in August 1939, in which the two dictatorships divided Central Europe between them. He also handed the Polish government copies of the documents ordering the massacre of thousands of Polish officers near the Katyn Forest.
Gestures like that are now unimaginable in Putin’s Russia, where any discussion of the 22-month Soviet-Nazi alliance is not only difficult, but possibly illegal. In 2016, the Russian Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a blogger who reposted an article mentioning the alliance. In 2019, Putin himself launched a strange campaign to blame Poland, not the U.S.S.R. and Germany, for the start of the war, as if Poland had invaded itself. Myths about the war are now backed up by politicians, by judges, by the force of law. No nuance is allowed to creep into the official account of a war that was complicated, bloody, and often confusing for those who fought in it. But this simplification is necessary, because there just isn’t anything else to legitimize Putin’s regime, let alone its brand-new war.
In practice, Putinism is a powerful but ultimately empty ideology. Its propaganda divides people from one another, creates suspicion, and promotes apathy. State media put forth multiple nonsensical explanations for reality, including multiple nonsensical reasons for the invasion of Ukraine. In different tellings, Ukraine, a democratic state led by a Jewish president, is “Nazi,” is Russian, is a Western puppet, is nonexistent. Alongside these stories, Russians are spoon-fed cynicism, mockery, and nihilism. They are told endless tales about the glorious past, but given hardly anything to hope for in the terrifying future. They have no idea who or what could follow the Putin regime, or what that would mean for them. They support him because nothing else is on offer. But support does not translate into excitement. Neither he nor his war stories seem able to create enthusiasm for another Great Fatherland War.
Perhaps that was why Putin chose to mark May 9 perfunctorily. He did not, as some expected, declare victory in Ukraine. Nor did he call for an all-out mobilization. He did not issue a call to arms or speak at length about a glorious invasion either. Instead, he repeated, again, that the Russians had no choice but to launch their special military operation in Ukraine, as if some law of history had ordered it. He implied, again, that Russia is the real victim. He left out the true stories, the emotion, the evocative details that would actually inspire people to feel something, about either the old war or the new one.
If he wants to expand the current conflict—if he wants to persuade millions of people to sacrifice their lives and their fortunes to fight across Europe once again—he will need to provide a far more powerful motivation, a far deeper reason to fight, something other than this war’s alleged resemblance to a past tragedy. But he doesn’t have that kind of motivation to offer, or at least not yet.
The Atlantic · by Anne Applebaum · May 11, 2022


26. The Secret War for Germany: CIA’s Covert Role in Cold War Berlin Explored through Recently Declassified Documents

Hopefully we can learn from this history.
The Secret War for Germany: CIA’s Covert Role in Cold War Berlin Explored through Recently Declassified Documents | National Security Archive
Published: May 11, 2022
Briefing Book #
792
Edited by John Prados
For more information, contact:
202-994-7000 or nsarchiv@gwu.edu

Walter Linse's home, in front of which he was kidnapped in July 1952. (Wikimedia commons)

CIA operations chief Richard Bissell in Berlin. (Uncredited)

Wiretapping and recording equipment installed inside the Berlin tunnel. (Bundesarchiv Bild; photo by Peter Heinz Junge)

Washington, DC, May 11, 2022— The Central Intelligence Agency aggressively pursued clandestine efforts to undermine East German morale at the height of the Cold War, recently declassified CIA records confirm. Exploring one of the core chapters of post-war European history, the materials posted today by the National Security Archive detail key facets of the intelligence agency’s still meagerly documented activities in East Germany.
Those activities included supporting and advising certain anti-communist activist groups, particularly in Berlin – a fact long denied in public – which were effective enough to prompt the Soviets to make them a subject of diplomacy with Washington, in addition to implementing their own propaganda and security measures.
This e-book consists of several documents culled from the recently published Digital National Security Archive collection CIA Covert Operations IV: The Eisenhower Years, 1953-1961 (ProQuest, 2021), available by subscription through many libraries. They provide a concise look into some of the intelligence agency’s previously classified ties to covert organizations in Cold War Germany.
CIA IN GERMANY
Germany after World War II was divided into occupation zones garrisoned by troops of the Great Powers. The Soviet Union had the eastern part of the country. In the west the United States held the south and center and Great Britain the north, with a slice on the western edge assigned to France. In a microcosm of that, Berlin, located within the eastern zone, was divided among the four powers also. Much Cold War diplomacy after 1945 focused on the integration of Germany into international politics as well as its unification in one form or another. Because there was no “peace treaty” formally ending World War II, the political status of the various parts of Germany remained in flux.
With the Berlin Blockade in 1948-49 the Soviets tried to compel the Western Allies to accede to Russian control over the former German capital within the eastern zone. Many political and economic measures followed. The Americans and British initiated a currency reform that re-established a quasi-national medium of exchange. The Russians created the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in their eastern zone. The U.S. and U.K. merged their occupation areas into “Bizonia,” a rump state, on the way toward forming the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), a national political entity. Berlin remained divided.
At each step along the way, intelligence services participated in the developments. For the Americans, this meant the CIA. Looking at this history from a spy's perspective, probably the two most memorable episodes of the 1950s were the East German riots of 1953, with the question of what CIA had, or had not, done to spark them; and the Berlin Tunnel, where CIA, in conjunction with Britain's MI-6, tunneled into East Berlin to place wiretaps on Soviet telephone cables.
But the day-to-day activities of the intelligence services, while equally meaningful, were less spectacular. These were intended to produce information on political developments on the opposite side of the Iron Curtain, to gain intelligence on the adversary's military posture, and to undertake activities designed to influence those other elements. Since Berlin was an important entry point to the West for those fleeing Eastern European countries as well as the Soviet Union, it was also a key recruitment center for the CIA in finding agents and operatives willing to work against the Soviets. The full panoply of intelligence operations is too broad to accommodate in this e-book, but something we can do is to focus in on a key part of the story – CIA's efforts to undermine East German morale by means of covertly funded and directed non-government organizations that purported to consist of nonpolitical citizen activists who were actually toeing an American line.
Many of these organizations started during the presidency of Harry S. Truman. (Much more will be reported on this when the Digital National Security Archive brings out its CIA Set VI, which will cover the Truman years, where a fresh e-book on Germany is planned.) For the most part these entities were run from the Berlin Operations Base (BOB) of intelligence. During the Eisenhower period, CIA was the relevant service. Under base chief Peter Sichel, then William K. Harvey, the Berlin detachment funneled promising displaced persons to the activist groups, not just the German ones but also Eastern European and Russian. The CIA German mission, at first under Lucien K. Truscott, a “personal representative” of agency Director Allen W. Dulles, then Frankfurt station chief Tom Parrott, followed by Henry Pleasants, managed the funding of the activist groups and their relations with the political entity that became the Federal Republic.
This was the situation in June 1953, when the Soviet-sponsored East German regime attempted to implement new economic performance norms. There seems to have been a disconnect between Moscow, which perceived increasing dissatisfaction in East Germany and Eastern Europe at Soviet controls, and the East German communist authorities. The Soviets imagined a program intended to appeal to East Germans burdened by communist ideological and political controls. East German leaders, by contrast, saw themselves as enforcing Sovietization and the people rightly perceived this as revitalized oppression. East German workers first threatened, then began strike actions and actual riots, particularly in East Berlin on June 17. Surprised by these events, BOB lost touch with the situation when East German and Russian security forces closed interzonal crossings, cutting the CIA off from its networks in East Berlin.
In this turbulent atmosphere, U.S. intelligence struggled with what to advise Washington. The standard story has been that Henry Hecksher, then BOB deputy chief, cabled headquarters to recommend weapons be handed out to the East German workers, but that his superiors in Washington quashed the idea without referring it to Director Dulles, who had been absent when the cable arrived. That appears to be fictitious. Bayard Stockton, then a junior officer at BOB, avers that he was the actual author of a BOB cable which base chief Harvey, not his deputy, sent to Washington, advising that U.S. troops in West Berlin be put on alert. Hecksher was leaving Berlin for a new post in Guatemala. Stockton affirms the cable's recommendation proved quite controversial and was rejected.
These details are important because the 1953 riots ended up being among the defining events of 1950s Berlin (as well as to the rest of the Soviet camp) and the question of what the CIA did, or did not do, to trigger them becomes important in Cold War history. The Berlin Base had no existing project of its own specifically aimed at stirring up trouble in the eastern zone. Therefore, a corollary question is whether the German activist organizations it supported had had such a role. At least one of them, the Fighting Group against Inhumanity (Kampfgruppe gegen Unmenschlichkeit, or KgU) aimed at administrative harassment of GDR authorities (Document 1). The Investigating Committee of Free Jurists and the Cramer Bureau propaganda projects had the ability to sway East German public opinion but did not seem to be encouraging the East Berlin riots.
Management controls over these entities were weak. From mid-1954 on, base chief Harvey would be preoccupied by moving his burgeoning CIA base to new accommodations, reorganizing the BOB, and backstopping construction of the tunnel necessary to wiretap Soviet telephone cables. The expanded BOB would have sections for East Germany, the Soviet satellite countries, the Soviet Union itself, and counterespionage. Really only the East German section was set up to guide the activist groups and it was stretched thin. A November 1954 project review (Document 1) notes the CIA anticipated only one officer at Berlin Base (and two more at headquarters) were sufficient to ride herd on the KgU. This was especially sensitive since the Fighting Group Against Inhumanity had harassment as one of its aims in East Germany. Its VII Bureau consumed the bulk of the CIA money, with a central office staff of 5, 10 more in field sectors, and 125 in East German networks. These operatives received and circulated propaganda material and participated in the harassment operations.
The Committee of Free Jurists and the Cramer Bureau (Documents 3, 4, 6, 11) were other propaganda sources. All had been active before the East German riots. In July 1952, in a major provocation, East German security service agents had kidnapped a top official of the Free Jurists. The Jurists' desire to strike back was evident. Both the Jurists and the Cramer Bureau crafted propaganda products after the Berlin uprising that built on those events. Therefore, it was not easy to dismiss allegations that the CIA, through its German activist organizations, had had a role in triggering the East German troubles.
The kidnapping of Dr. Walter Linse, a senior official of the Free Jurists, in West Berlin by East German operatives, shows the increasing East German and Soviet preoccupation with defeating the covert enemy. Linse was never seen again. Through 1959, as many as 62 persons followed him, kidnapped into East Germany. There were waves of arrests within the GDR, notably after the Berlin riots. Eastern courts handed out over 126 death sentences for alleged association with the KgU alone. Soviet authorities carried out the executions. In 1955 the eastern zone authorities mounted a media campaign against the German activists. This included inserting East German agents among the flow of Displaced Persons to the West, who then infiltrated the Fighting Group and the Free Jurists, purloined documents, and then redefected to the GDR, where the materials were used in the media campaigns.
In the fall of 1955, the anti-Western maneuvers spilled over into the West German press, when the weekly news magazine Der Spiegel and the daily newspaper Die Welt published exposés of activities of the Fighting Group. The CIA labored to contrive tactics to meet these attacks. One such measure was to hire a lawyer familiar to many of the actors involved to defend the KgU and implicitly threaten defamation suits against the newspaper and magazine (Document 2). Another form of defense was to improve the cover arrangements made to preserve the secrecy of the covert activities. The CIA experimented with one of its projects, LCCASSOCK, deepening the conventional publishing role of its covert entity, the Cramer Bureau, to make it appear more innocent (Document 6). Another tactic was to stop creating phony versions of East German publications and substitute propaganda that simply mimicked the style of GDR propaganda, as shown in the 1956 project renewal for LCCASSOCK (Document 4).
The underlying reality of the CIA operations, however, made it imperative to increase cooperation with the West Germans and the role of the recently formed Federal Republic of Germany. CIA deliberations on how to do this flitted back and forth between headquarters and the field (Document 3). No matter what the degree of U.S.-FRG cooperation, in the sensitive political atmosphere of the time, the West Germans were under pressure for permitting the presence in Berlin and West Germany of entities that not only distributed propaganda in the GDR but carried out commando operations. Debates in the West German legislature, the Bundestag, in 1957, showed the FRG moving toward criminal investigations of commando-type actions of, at a minimum, the Fighting Group Against Inhumanity (Document 5).
Ultimately the CIA had few alternatives. When the West German government refused to take over full responsibility for the CIA covert operations, the agency made preparations to close them out. The Soviets assisted in the shutdown by making an issue of the covert entities. In particular, in the 1959 Berlin crisis – often called the “Berlin Deadline crisis” because of Soviet demands for a resolution of longstanding Berlin issues by a certain date – Moscow denounced Western (U.S.) espionage and propaganda carried out from the divided city. As it happened, the Central Intelligence Agency was already operating under an October 1958 decision to shut down the Fighting Group, at a minimum, by June 1959 (Document 8).
Still, field operatives could not resist the temptation for one last roll of the dice. In early 1959, the Berlin Base advocated a program of covert actions which might complicate the Russians' diplomacy. A high-level study group chaired by senior diplomat Robert Murphy backed the idea. The CIA's Board of National Estimates, the intelligence community's top analytical office, expressed serious doubts (Document 9), however. On May 15, 1959, President Eisenhower convened a meeting in the Oval Office to consider the action program. Eisenhower made no immediate decision, but he appreciated that similar initiatives had worked previously, and he did not speak against the Murphy committee's idea (Document 10). However, the president ultimately rejected the covert initiative. Nevertheless, a June 1960 CIA record demonstrates that the Cramer Bureau was still in the process of being liquidated (Document 11). This illustrates the difficulties associated with shutting down agency covert operations.
There is no overall scorecard demonstrating success (or failure) in the secret war over Germany in the 1950s. Both the Western countries and the Soviet Union avidly pursued this conflict, as the documents here help to illustrate. There can be no doubt that their machinations complicated the effort to create a viable state in place of the former Hitlerite Germany. The covert operations added to hostilities that persisted through the era and led to the building of the Berlin Wall in August 1961. That crisis, the sharpest yet, contributed to Soviet anxieties that led to the world-threatening Cuban Missile Crisis.
The Documents

Document 1
Nov 17, 1954
Source
Nazi War Crimes Document Review Board
Renewals of CIA covert operations were approved based upon project reviews. These followed a set format, beginning with a capsule outline of operational history, approval, current status, achievements, and so on. In this particular case, the German political grouping Kampfgruppe gegen Unmenschlichkeit (or KgU) was at issue, known in English as the “Fighting Group Against Inhumanity,” or to the CIA as Project DTLINEN. In this report the agency admitted it had “subsidized and guided” the KgU “since its inception in 1949.” (There will be more detail on the KgU project in the upcoming Digital National Security Archive Set VI of the CIA document collection, which will cover the Truman administration.) Aside from minor gifts from Berliners and western German citizens, “the KgU receives its entire financial support from CIA.” At first intended for propaganda purposes, by 1954 DTLINEN had shifted to “administrative harassment” of authorities in the Soviet zone of Germany. The West German and West Berlin governments, the Office of the High Commissioner, and the British intelligence service MI-6 were all aware of CIA's role in the Fighting Group. Both the two top officials of the KgU were so witting of the CIA connection that the agency's case officer worked openly with them. The KgU is described as supporting CIA Berlin Base's counterespionage and Soviet defection operations and contributing as many as 600 reports a month to the base's tally.

Document 2
Nov 16, 1955
Source
CIA Electronic Reading Room
Previous allegations that the Fighting group Against Inhumanity had been carrying out acts of sabotage in East Germany were successfully parried, but in September and October 1955 the newsmagazine Spiegel and the newspaper Die Welt published new charges that had more substance. In this document, the CIA's station chief for Germany, John Bross, reports to Berlin Base chief Bill Harvey on efforts to counter the charges. KgU director Ernst Tillich had retained lawyer Curt Bley to defend him. According to copies of Bley's representations to the German press officials, included in this air pouch package, the anti-KgU campaign amounted to a planned operation agreed among editors and journalists of the media outlets. Bley included explicit details such as noting that documents had been stolen from KgU files and concealed by a former employee in the coal pile in his basement.

Document 3
Nov 23, 1955
Source
Nazi War Crimes Document Review Board
This CIA memo from the chief of the Directorate of Operation's Eastern European Division informs Director Allen Dulles of the background behind agency dispatch FRAN 4690, which articulated the German station's positions on a series of issues under discussion with the West German government and the city authorities in West Berlin. In the single month since CIA wrestled with press revelations regarding DTLINEN and the KgU (Document 2), the situation had become so untenable that the United States held an official meeting with the West German government and West Berlin parliament at which CIA had admitted its support for the KgU and several other organizations, including the Untersuchkungsausschuss Freiheitlicher Juristen (UFJ, or Investigative Committee of Free Jurists), run by the CIA as Project CADROIT. Now the CIA was prepared to take a back seat to a joint board composed of German and CIA representatives who would guide the covert projects, and the sides had reached the point of determining modalities by which the system might operate.

Document 4
Oct 19, 1956
Source
Nazi War Crimes Document Review Board
Project LCCASSOCK was a major CIA black propaganda operation, and this is its lengthy project review for 1956. The bureau prepared, printed, and shipped falsified editions of East German publications and smuggled them across the inter-German zonal boundary for distribution in the German Democratic Republic. Until 1952, the bureau had been supported by grants from West German official sources which ended with a dispute over the secrecy of the propaganda source. The CIA had taken over the funding through another covert project in April 1952, and as a directly approved initiative from July 1954. The re-authorization of 1956 aimed to support a shift away from falsified East German publications to openly anti-regime ones that were still formatted in previous styles. It also produced poison pen letters sent to the East, letters to individuals who had written to comment on the publications, and special publications on particular subjects, such as East German or Soviet communist party congresses. In the first half of 1956 LCCASSOCK had circulated 122,500 copies of its various publications.

Document 5
Nov 30, 1957
Source
CIA Electronic Reading Room
The continuing sensitivity of the CIA covert operations is illustrated in this late 1957 dispatch (Berlin 4913), which describes parliamentary debates over the Fighting Group Against Inhumanity. This cable records public speeches and political positions of several Berlin legislators, showing that German politicians were ready to defend the KgU but also acknowledge its previous “freewheeling” as a CIA covert asset, and that evidence of criminal acts should be referred to a state attorney. Berlin's then- mayor Willy Brandt is described as feeling that the city was weak but the Federal Republic of Germany (“FedRep” here) strong, so the FedRep should take care of instructions for DTLINEN.

Document 6
Sep 15, 1958
Source
Nazi War Crimes Document Review Board
The agency moved to endow the Berlin black propaganda organ with a deeper commercial cover under the name Schlagzeug. From April to June 1958 it observed the effectiveness of this commercial cover as part of re-authorization of the project. Berlin Operations Base had viewed the commercialization of the Cramer Bureau as both a mechanism for legalization of its activities and a possible offset for CIA funding since at least 1955. The CIA (“KUBARK”) retained a 76% equity interest in the CASSOCK commercial entity. Agency officials anticipated commercialization would widen the proportion of printing and editorial assets devoted to legitimate business activities, but that CIA would utilize CASSOCK on a “selective financial and operational basis” (p. 2). During the experimental period sales of Schlagzeug publications fell short of CIA's expectations but this was attributed to start-up difficulties. Project estimates would be revised at the last moment according to a late-arriving modified proposal (which is not attached).

Document 7
Oct 15, 1958
Source
Nazi War Crimes Document Review Board
Berlin Operations Base (BOB) comments to chief of station Henry Pleasants on a summer 1958 paper proposing termination of Project DTLINEN, with marginal comments, probably from the recipient. Although the original termination proposal is not here, the paper and marginal comments make clear that both BOB and the CIA station chief are prepared to move ahead with a close out. Berlin base raises several questions about continuation of certain of KgU's activities. There is interest in getting West German intelligence, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), to take over supporting the KgU or at least its central files, or for the CIA-BND jointly funded project CAWASH to do the same, but the latter had previously indicated antipathy toward the Fighting Group, so this was not very practical. The CIA officials also show they are aware of West German legal proceedings against some members of the KgU, making termination of CIA support even more critical for cover purposes.

Document 8
Oct 28, 1958
Source
Nazi War Crimes Document Review Board
Simultaneously with CIA's internal deliberations on the future of DTLINEN, a representative of the ministry in charge of all-German affairs informs the CIA that West Germany not only will not take over the covert action project, but its government is not willing to go further in the legislature (bundestag) than to assert the KgU's past activities have not been criminal in nature. The official, described as having been previously friendly to the CIA project, advised the American spies to get rid of the covert project. Agency Director Allen Dulles then instructed his apparatus in Germany to terminate assistance to the KgU by June 30, 1959.

Document 9
Apr 1, 1959
Source
CIA Historical Review Program
With Four-Power negotiations over Berlin looming, a committee of senior officials chaired by Robert Murphy proposed a campaign of psychological warfare and political action measures that CIA agents argued might lead the Soviets to reduce their own “saber-rattling.” Before agreeing to any such program, Director Dulles sought an opinion from his top analysts at the Board of National Estimates (BNE). Stepping outside their usual role of surveying specific situations or predicting broad trends in foreign behavior, the BNE presented an opinion on a particular cable from the CIA station in Bonn, the West German capital. The Board simply assumed that CIA had the capabilities to conduct the proposed covert actions, but even so doubted the operations could attain the advertised results without “substantially increasing the hopes and possibly even resistance activities of Satellite populations” in East Germany, Poland, and Hungary (p. 1). BNE believed that the proposed covert action campaign would actually “increase Soviet intransigence with respect to West Berlin” (p. 2).

Document 10
May 15, 1959
Source
CIA Electronic Reading Room
About six weeks after a BNE opinion about launching a psychological warfare operation (Document 9), the covert action proposal is considered at the White House at a meeting convened by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. CIA Director Allen Dulles explains that he spoke of a program like this with his brother, former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, as early as January 1959, about what could be done covertly to influence talks. The agency would rely upon carefully plotted leaks selectively put before senior Russian and Soviet Bloc officials. Some supplies might be moved forward to make it seem like CIA was preparing a partisan campaign in Eastern Europe. It knew how to accomplish this. The CIA would seek to undermine the effectiveness of East German officials. Robert Murphy interjected that such “seepage” might have a positive effect on negotiations at Geneva. President Eisenhower stated that he understood the plan. Later Secretary of Defense Neil McElroy complained that the British were all in favor of joint planning when in the Middle East but were nowhere to be found when it came to Berlin.

Document 11
Jul 20, 1960
Source
CIA Electronic Reading Room
This account from Berlin Base chief David Murphy provides a fascinating look at the headaches associated with closing down a CIA operation. Here, the Cramer Bureau (LCCASSOCK), which the agency had previously tried to spin off with a new legal cover as an innocuous publishing company, has gone into receivership. The CIA base follows the progress of Cramer Bureau personnel as they seek new employment, puts one person in charge of selling off CASSOCK's office furniture and equipment, actually making a profit doing it, and has a different CIA covert project buy some of the items. The FRG tax authorities pursue the agency proprietary for unpaid back taxes, and demand descriptive information on its “foreign investors” that might reveal Cramer's CIA funding. Agency officials intervene with the West Germans to protect the secrecy of the American spy operation.
Notes
. A fine recent recounting is in Christian F. Ostermann, Between Containment and Rollback: The United States and the Cold War in Germany. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2021.
. David E. Murphy, Sergei A. Kondrashev, and George Bailey, Battleground Berlin: CIA vs KGB in the Cold War. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997.
. The current standard account of the Berlin Tunnel operation is in Steve Vogel, Betrayal in Berlin: The True Story of the Cold War's Most Audacious Espionage Operation. London: Custom House, 2019. There are declassified official histories of the Tunnel operation by both the CIA and the National Security Agency.
. For the old story see Thomas Powers, The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms and the CIA. New York: Pocket Books, 1981, p. 55-56. The corrective is in Bayard Stockton, Flawed Patriot: The Rise and Fall of CIA Legend Bill Harvey. Washington: Potomac Books, 2006, pp. 2-3, 45-47.
. According to former Soviet intelligence officer Peter Deriabin, German prisoners from World War II encountered Linse at the prison camp Vorkuta in 1955. Peter Deriabin and Frank Gibney, The Secret World. New York: Ballantine Books, 1982, fn. p. 227.
. Ann Tusa, The Last Division: Berlin and the Wall. London: Coronet Books, 1996, pp. 170-174.
SUGGESTED READING

John Prados, Chicago: Ivan R. Dee/Rowland & Littlefield, 2006. ISBN: 978-1-56663-8234.

Chicago: Ivan R. Dee/Rowland & Littlefield, 1996. ISBN: 978-1-56663-1082.

New York: The New Press, 2017. ISBN: 978-1-62097-088-1.

Christian F. Ostermann, Between Containment and Rollback: The United States and the Cold War in Germany. Stanford University Press, 2021. ISBN-13: 978-1503606784
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David Maxwell
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Foundation for Defense of Democracies
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V/R
David Maxwell
Senior Fellow
Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Phone: 202-573-8647
Personal Email: david.maxwell161@gmail.com
Web Site: www.fdd.org
Twitter: @davidmaxwell161
Subscribe to FDD’s new podcastForeign Podicy
FDD is a Washington-based nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.

If you do not read anything else in the 2017 National Security Strategy read this on page 14:

"A democracy is only as resilient as its people. An informed and engaged citizenry is the fundamental requirement for a free and resilient nation. For generations, our society has protected free press, free speech, and free thought. Today, actors such as Russia are using information tools in an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of democracies. Adversaries target media, political processes, financial networks, and personal data. The American public and private sectors must recognize this and work together to defend our way of life. No external threat can be allowed to shake our shared commitment to our values, undermine our system of government, or divide our Nation."
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