By Joseph Zeman, RealClearDefense: "Synthetic biology is a widely misunderstood domain where its national security implications are severely underestimated."
Synthetic Biology: An Emerging National Security Threat
By Joseph Zeman, RealClearDefense: "Synthetic biology is a widely misunderstood domain where its national security implications are severely underestimated."
The 'Force Field' Technology Behind the Army's New Armor
By Allison Barrie, FOX News: “Astonishingly futuristic new tech creates a seemingly invisible, impenetrable, protective bubble around military armored vehicles making enemy attempts to fire at U.S. tanks pretty pointless – those rounds won’t hit the tank, they’ll explode mid-air.”
DARPA's New AI-Enabled 'Breakthrough' Cyberattack 'Hunting' Technology
By Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven: “The program, called Cyber Hunting at Scale (CHASE), uses computer automation, advanced algorithms and a new caliber of processing speed to track large volumes of data in real-time, enabling human cyber hunters to find advanced attacks otherwise hidden or buried within massive amounts of incoming data.”
Our New Model Robot Armies
By Peter Layton, Small Wars Journal: “Robotic technologies seem set to disrupt warfare in at least two big ways: firstly, in improving productivity making armies equipment-centric; and secondly, in making defence dominant on the battlefield. In this revolution, the character of war will change and somewhat unexpectedly, possibly its nature.”
Readying the Naval Services for What’s Over the Horizon
By Robert P. Kozloski, CHIPS: “Experts claim that society is at the verge of a Fourth Industrial Revolution. This change presents both challenges and opportunities for the Department of the Navy, where warfighting considerations are rightfully privileged. The management aspects of technology are only a secondary consideration, but may have enormous consequences if they are not addressed.”
The missing link to preparing for military operations in megacities and dense urban areas
(Army Times) With the global trends of rapidly rising populations, urbanization, urban crime and political violence, military personnel will find themselves deploying into dense urban areas.
How to reshape the US military in 5 steps
(Defense News) The U.S. National Defense Strategy calls for increased investments to “restore warfighting readiness and field a more lethal force” capable of defeating aggression by the nation’s most capable adversary states. This is warranted: War gaming and analysis done at the think tank Rand point to troubling trends in the capabilities of U.S. and allied forces relative to those of key adversaries.
Fueling a future war in the Pacific
(War On The Rocks) It is striking how little U.S. logistics vulnerabilities have improved since WWII. Energy for military operations in the geographically vast Pacific region still primarily takes the form of military-grade fuels used by ships and aircraft. That fuel is still mostly stored in fuel terminals in known locations, many of which are in range of potential adversaries’ aircraft, submarines, and surface-to-surface missiles.
Accelerating multi-domain operations: evolution of an idea
(United States Military Academy) For ideas to have a lasting impact they must evolve.
Pentagon Hopes JEDI Contract Good for the Force
By Colin Clark, Breaking Defense: “Worth up to $10 billion over a decade, the Pentagon’s attempt to build its first true enterprise-wide cloud has sparked charges that the deal is designed to go straight to Amazon, who already supplies the CIA with its cloud services.
The Pentagon Wants to Bring Mind-Controlled Tech To Troops
// Jack Corrigan
The Defense Department's research arm is working on a project that connects human operators' brains to the systems they're controlling—and vice versa.
China, Russia, and the US Are All Building Centers for Military AI
// Patrick Tucker
But their burgeoning approaches to state-sponsored research are divergent as the countries themselves.
General: Project Maven is just the beginning of the military’s use of AI
(DefenseOne) Air Combat Command chief invites tech firms to help build next-gen tools for the Pentagon. Also says dissent "is part of being an American."
An Assessment of the Likely Roles of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Systems
By Ali Crawford, Divergent Options: “Though a battlefield in the future will likely see autonomous decision-making technology as a norm, the transition between modern applications of artificial intelligence and potential applications will focus on incorporating human-machine teaming into existing frameworks.
Pentagon's Massive Multi-Domain AI Initiative
By Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven: “The Pentagon is making a massive push to accelerate the application of AI to ships, tanks, aircraft, weapons.”
Creating the Conditions for Artificial Intelligence to Thrive in the Pentagon
By Richard Kuzma, War on the Rocks: “Data is the lifeblood of AI, and a crucial part of the infrastructure that will need to undergird these new technologies as the U.S. military adopts them.
Army to Acquire New Nano Drones
By Sonja Jordan, National Defense Magazine: “Soldiers are “looking for a covert, safe and immediately available situational awareness tool” that they can carry easily and use at the squad level, Aguirre said.
General: Project Maven Is Just the Beginning of the Military's Use of AI
// Marcus Weisgerber
Air Combat Command chief invites tech firms to help build next-gen tools for the Pentagon. Also says dissent "is part of being an American."
MALD-X Tested for Swarm EW
By Colin Clark, Breaking Defense: "More than three-and-half-years ago we ran an intriguing piece by Robert Haddick, a respected strategist and sometime consultant to Special Operations Command. Haddick proposed modifying a small drone called the Miniature Air-Launched Decoy (MALD) so it could take on mobile missiles and perhaps search huge swaths of Chinese territory after being launched from B-52s.
Army to Control Future Battle Drones from U.S. Bases
By Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven: “Thinking conceptually requires an openness of thought which historically might have been considered anathema to military hierarchy and good discipline."
SOCOM 'Iron Man Suit' Prototype by 2019
By Vivienne Machi, National Defense Magazine: ““We think the risk is worth the reward in terms of what we can do to improve the survivability of the individual operator.”
China’s regional ambitions reshaping India’s foreign policy
(Asia Times) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nationalistic government is taking a more proactive role in regional military cooperation than its predecessors – and the reason, according to Jeff M Smith of the Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Centre, is that China has emerged as a regular actor in the Indian Ocean.
How Xi Jinping views the world
(Foreign Affairs) Much has been written on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s remarkable consolidation of political power since he took office five years ago. But an equally important question for the international community to consider is how Xi views the world—and what that means for how China will approach it. Because of the opacity of the Chinese political system, this is hard to answer with real certainty. But clear patterns are beginning to emerge.
China’s Play for Military Bases in the Eastern Indian Ocean
By David Brewster, the interpreter: “Indeed, the development of a Chinese naval and air base on Gan or elsewhere in the Maldives would be a game changer in the Indian Ocean, potentially threatening the U.S. military presence at Diego Garcia.”
China's Missiles in the South China Sea: A Threat of War
By Robert E. McCoy, Asia Times: “The South China Sea China has the potential to become a cauldron of conflict, and China is stoking the fire. By claiming perhaps as much as 90% of the South China Sea, Beijing is trampling on the rights of other nations in the region, nations whose Exclusion Economic Zones (EEZs) and national waters are being violated.”
What the Army’s Return to Large-scale Operations Means
for the Intelligence Warfighting Function
By Caroline Bechtel, Modern War Institute: “...the next war the United States fights will be far more dynamic and complex than the counterinsurgency and stability operations in which it has been heavily engaged for more than a decade and a half.”
DARPA multidomain program to focus on ‘kill webs’
(C4ISRNET) The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is readying a new start this summer that will focus on cross domain battle management.
The U.S. Army’s future missile defense battle manager was put to the test across long distances to prove it’s capable of playing an integral role in multi domain operations, according to Northrop Grumman, the system’s developer. - Defense News
Infrastructure Key to Successful Multi-Domain Operations
By Amy McCullough, Air Force Magazine: “The Air Force needs to give industry and academia the “basic principles and basic vision” for how it wants to conduct multi-domain operations, and then let them work independently to find the right way to make that happen.”
Tactics and the Human Factor
By Connor Love & Jeff Hubler, Modern War Institute: “Gen. Robert Brown, commander of U.S. Army Pacific, echoed this sentiment in his 2014 Human Dimension white paper: “Material solutions alone will not provide the decisive edge against the complex array of rapidly adapting threats we face.” However, here we are, four years later, with no major changes in the way we develop, train, or enhance the cognitive and social abilities of our soldiers.”
DARPA wants to connect human brains and machines
(C4ISRNET) As unmanned platforms, cyber systems and human-machine partnering become more prevalent in 21st century war fighting, the effectiveness of combat units will be determined by how quickly information can be processed and transmitted between air-breathers and machines.
DARPA to use artificial intelligence to help commanders in ‘gray zone’ conflicts
(Military Times) Across the military branches, commanders are looking at how artificial intelligence can be used to fly better aerial routes, insert robotic vehicles into formations and process vast amounts of data in the information-dense battlefields of the near future.
The Pentagon's New Robotics Roadmap
By Connie Lee, National Defense Magazine: “The new unmanned systems roadmap will be the first that the department has released since 2013.”
In the move to multi-domain operations, what gets lost?
(C4ISRNET) The Army, in coordination with the Marine Corps, is developing new ways to fight in a “multi-domain” environment and to synchronize capabilities seamlessly across land, air, sea, space and cyber. The Air Force is pursuing a similar effort called multi-domain command and control.
What’s standing in the way of multidomain operations?
(Defense News) Mutlidomain operations are set to become standard for the U.S. armed services in the coming years, but technical, doctrinal and organizational hurdles remain.
Todd Probert writes: In order to fully connect and integrate the future force, the U.S. military must accelerate the adoption of autonomy, machine learning and artificial intelligence to increase the speed at which data is processed, information distributed and warfighting decisions made. - Defense One
Artificial Intelligence: Welcome to the Age of Disruptive Surprise
By Bruce E. Pease, The Cipher Brief: “I spent a career in intelligence learning the business of forecasting and warning, and I teach those things today. I learned that warning is easier than forecasting—usually, you warn of vulnerabilities and possibilities, but you forecast likelihoods.”
China Is Mining Data Directly From Workers' & Soldiers' Brains
By Stephen Chen, SCMP: “Concealed in regular safety helmets or uniform hats, these lightweight, wireless sensors constantly monitor the wearer’s brainwaves and stream the data to computers that use artificial intelligence algorithms to detect emotional spikes such as depression, anxiety or rage.”
China in race to overtake the US in AI warfare
(Asia Times) Beijing is pushing hard to integrate artificial intelligence and autonomous weapons – robotic arms capable of thinking and acting at the speed of light.
DARPA Chooses Teams for $1.5B Electronics Initiative
By Yasmin Tadjdeh, National Defense Magazine: “The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has chosen a multitude of industry and academic teams to work on six programs under its lucrative Electronics Resurgence Initiative that includes upwards of $1.5 billion in funding over five years.”
Defense-wide: Nukes, missile defense, and the third offset
Mackenzie Eaglen | American Enterprise Institute
Lessons learned from the air war against the Islamic State
(War On The Rocks) As debates continued at the Pentagon about hypersonic weapons, technology-based offset strategies, and next-generation bombers, things were happening in the skies over Syria.
New Ground Combat Tactics for the Era of Multi-Domain Battle
By Justin Lynch & Lauren Fish, Modern War Institute: “Swarming soldiers may offer the way to open the battlefield against an enemy focused on denying access, scrambling communications, and precisely targeting U.S. forces.
PENTAGON'S WAR CONCEPT: MULTI-DOMAIN BATTLE = RUSSIAN & CHINA; THE RETURN OF GREAT POWER COMPETITION
How multidomain battle is transforming US Army exercises
(Defense News) The U.S. Army in Europe has used the new and complex Joint Warfighting Assessment, or JWA, as an early opportunity to move the concept of multidomain battle from paper to theater to better understand how the service and its partners will fight together in the future
Toward one understanding of multiple domains
(C4ISRNET) Budget analysts claim that it’s all about the money, but often-maligned strategists know that the U.S. Department of Defense is actually ruled by words.
The Next War: The Growing Danger of Great-power Conflict
From The Economist: “IN THE past 25 years war has claimed too many lives. Yet even as civil and religious strife have raged in Syria, central Africa, Afghanistan and Iraq, a devastating clash between the world's great powers has remained almost unimaginable. No longer."
Competition, Conflict, and Mental Models of War:
What You Need to Know About Multi-domain Battle
By Kelly McCoy, Modern War Institute: “Our doctrinal, albeit hopeful, understanding of competition today is best represented by the conflict continuum. This is the span of possibilities between peace and war, and essentially requires the US military to be proficient across the full range of military operations.”
Planning for a multi-domain battle is how the U.S. military will keep its superiority but doing so requires a new mindset in the Pentagon and out in the field, said the Air Force’s air combat commander. - USNI News
Multi-Domain Operations: The Case of British Field Marshal William Slim
By James D. Campbell, Strategy Bridge: “One of the most fruitful sources for examples illustrating the concepts behind multi-domain warfare is the World War II campaign history of the British Commonwealth 14th Army’s approach to combined operations within the Allied Southeast Asia Command in the China-Burma-India Theater.”
Accelerating Multi-Domain Operations: Evolution of an Idea
By Stephen Townsend, Modern War Institute: “Multi-Domain Battle has a clear origin. Stemming from the idea that disruptive technologies will change the character of warfare, it recognizes that the way armies will fight and win wars will also change.
What commanders will need in multidomain operations
(C4ISRNET) Mission command systems exist for the physical world, providing commanders a picture of the ground and air environment. However, the Army, as well as the joint force, is shifting to so-called multidomain operations, which opens up a need for new tools to fully understand the operating environment.
Could AI-Driven Info Warfare Be Democracy’s Achilles Heel?
(The Cipher Brief) Ripped out of the pages of science fiction novels, artificially intelligent, self-aware weapons systems could become a global existential threat, if harbingers of doom like Elon Musk are to be believed.
Drones in Counterterrorism: The Primacy of Politics Over Technology
By Asfandyar Mir, Strategy Bridge: “Even President Barack Obama –– whose Presidency was marked by a prolific use of drones for counterterrorism –– recognized drone use as “what looks like a pretty antiseptic way of disposing of [our] enemies” while also expressing concerns that, without sufficient Congressional oversight, “you [could] end up with a president who can carry on perpetual wars all over the world.””
Taking 'Team of Teams' to the Contested Littorals
By Jeffrey Cummings, Scott Cuomo, et al., War on the Rocks: “As success or failure relates to the future of unmanned systems, autonomy, and artificial intelligence, the Corps has one option if the former remains the goal: move out rapidly — eyes wide open — to responsibly make manned-unmanned teaming actual throughout our MAGTFs.”
The Strategic Implications of Non-State #WarBots
By Mark Jacobsen, Strategy Bridge: “Over the past year, a primitive type of WarBot has become a formidable battlefield weapon: the small unmanned aerial system. The threat materialized in October 2016 when a drone booby-trapped by the Islamic State killed two Kurdish soldiers. Within a few months, the Islamic State was flying tens of aerial bombardment missions each day, displayed the capability to drop grenades down the hatches of tanks, and reportedly flew up to a dozen aircraft at a time. The threat was so severe that the Mosul offensive nearly stalled.”
Fuzzy Thinking About Drones
By Jon Askonas & Colby Howard, War on the Rocks: “Initial operational test and evaluation, or IOT&E — the last milestone before full-rate production starts — won’t be able to begin until late 2018.”
The Next Revolution In Military Affairs: MDC2
By Daniel Gouré, RealClearDefense: “A still new RMA could be imminent. It is a function, first and foremost, of the proliferation of sensors and so-called smart devices, the creation of increasingly large, complex and sophisticated information networks, and growing potential in automated systems and artificial intelligence.”
Rebuilding America’s military: Thinking about the future
(Heritage Foundation) America’s military—engaged beyond capacity and in need of rebuilding—is at a crucial juncture. Its current “big-leap” approach to preparing for future conflict carries great risk in searching for revolutionary capabilities through force-wide commitments to major single-solution programs.
U.S. Third Offset Has Profound Implications for Indo-Pacific
By Brendan Thomas-Noone, The Strategist (ASPI): “As Washington concentrated on fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Beijing (and Moscow) invested in advanced missile technology, satellites, intelligence and reconnaissance assets, and networking capabilities. That has allowed China and Russia to employ anti-access and area denial (A2AD) strategies that have raised the cost and risk to the U.S. if it decides to intervene in a conflict close to those countries’ borders.”
How America Can Build a Durable Military Balance in Asia
By Michael Beckley, the interpreter: “This skewed media coverage is only the most recent example of what I call 'bilateral bias': the tendency of American observers to view China’s neighbours as passive dominoes or, at best, feckless pawns in a U.S.-China contest for regional supremacy.”
Integrating Multi-domain Battle with National Security
By Albert Palazzo, Strategy Bridge: “To achieve the full potential of the information era, Multi-Domain Battle must become more than just a concept for fighting that is owned by the military. Combat divorced from greater purpose, from a political end and from strategy, generally results in defeat.”
Mission Command and Multi-Domain Battle Don’t Mix
By Conrad Crane, War on the Rocks: “The emerging doctrine of AirLand Battle would stress agility and initiative as key operational concepts, but also included synchronization, the requirement to carefully coordinate all activities on the battlefield and achieve “unity of effort throughout the force.””
Overkill: Army Mission Command
By John Bolton, Small Wars Journal: “Mission Command will fail if not fully embraced and understood. Education can only partly address this problem as the systems used by Soldiers implicitly affects their actions.”
The Air Force's 'Bait and Switch' on J-STARS Recap
By Daniel Goure, The Natoinal Interest: “The U.S. military has no sooner unveiled its shiny new operating concept for future joint warfare, called Multi-Domain Battle (MDB), then the wheels seem to be falling off their new, all-purpose construct.”
Multi-Domain Battle: The Echo of the Past
By Albert Palazzo, Strategy Bridge: “The current military leadership in the U.S. knows that if the United States is to succeed in its future wars it must find the means to reclaim its previous battlefield dominance. Its potential adversaries have adapted and implemented countervailing capabilities to negate U.S. advantages, especially its ability to project and maneuver force globally.”
The Road to Multi-domain Battle: An Origin Story
By Kelly McCoy, Modern War Institute: “These days you can’t get through the #NatSec blogosphere without running into Multi-Domain Battle. And just about everyone has a perspective.”
The Multi-Domain Threat to American Civil Infrastructure
By Kyle Borne, Small Wars Journal: “The concept of Multi-Domain Battle (MDB) recognizes the fundamental shift in how potential adversaries of the United States engage in geostrategic means with which to achieve geopolitical goals via means below-armed-conflict.”
The Untold Stories of the National Security Council
From Penn Today: "John Gans, director of communications and research at Perry World House, discusses his new book that captures the stories and inner workings of National Security Council staff."
A Radical Pick for the National Security Council
// Peter Beinart
John Bolton's new chief of staff comes from the Center for Security Policy, a group that was largely shunned by conservatives in Washington—but is making a comeback in the Trump era.
Bolton era begins with exits and anxiety at National Security Council
(CNN) By the start of John Bolton's second week as national security adviser, five top officials at the National Security Council had already resigned under pressure, been fired or decided to leave.
John Bolton’s job isn’t policymaking but restoring the National Security Council’s roots
Michael Rubin | Washington Examiner
Believing Is Seeing: On Strategic Imagination
By Andrew A. Hill & Douglas Douds, War Room: “American national security strategy is generally unimaginative. It is too often constrained by a rigid, unimaginative pursuit of optimal objectives… It needs the constructive, creative impulse that characterizes great strategy.”
The National Security Council: A tool for decision
Luke Strange | American Enterprise Institute
Options for Streamlining U.S. Department of Defense Decision Making
By John T. Kuehn, Divergent Options: “The Project for National Security Reform (PNSR) began looking at this issue in 2008 and found that NSA 47 no longer fit the strategic environment we are currently facing or will face in the 21st Century.”
In his six months as Homeland Security secretary, John F. Kelly often described the White House as one of the most dysfunctional organizations he had ever seen, complained to colleagues and allies about its meddling, incompetence and recklessness, and was once so angry he briefly considered quitting. Now as President Trump’s chief of staff, he is doing something about it — with a suddenness and force that have upended the West Wing. – New York Times
When new White House chief of staff John Kelly huddled with senior staff on his first day at work, he outlined a key problem in President Donald Trump’s White House that he planned to fix: bad information getting into the president’s hands. Kelly told the staff that information needed to flow through him — whether on paper or in briefings — because the president would make better decisions if given good information. - Politico
National security adviser H.R. McMaster, who has waged a pitched battle with other senior staff for control over policy and personnel on the National Security Council, is taking advantage of the shield offered by the arrival of his old military colleague John Kelly as White House chief of staff. - Politico
Empowered by a new chief of staff and goosed by a president angry over a lack of progress, National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster is sweeping out some of the White House’s most fervent ideologues and Trump loyalists. But McMaster has to move fast, senior administration officials tell The Daily Beast. – The Daily Beast
After a protracted battle between the White House and the CIA over candidates, President Donald Trump has hired a career CIA analyst to become his senior director for Africa, two people familiar with the matter told BuzzFeed News. – Buzz Feed
James Kitfield writes: Taken as a group, Trump’s generals have tended to see their mission as twofold: The first job is to correct what senior military officers see as the mistakes of the Obama administration, a hesitancy to use force or commit troops that many allies perceived as a retreat from traditional U.S. commitments in the world. The second job—and the far riskier one—is to mitigate the damage caused by their boss. – Politico
McMaster Goes to War—Against His White House Enemies
By Lachlan Markay, Asawin Suebsaeng, & Kimberly Dozier, The Daily Beast: “The national security adviser is purging the Trump White House of hardliners. But the ‘nationalists’ are quickly moving to strike back.”
5 Reasons H.R. McMaster Is the Right Leader for a Tough President
By Jim Carafano, Walter Lohman, Tom Spoehr, Luke Coffey, David Shedd and Nile Gardiner, The Daily Signal: “In national security adviser H.R. McMaster, the president has a leader of the National Security Council who has made a career of fighting for national security interests that involve very real sacrifice.”
McMaster Reshuffles National Security Council
By Shane Savitsky, Axios: “Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the senior director for intelligence at the NSC, was shown the door yesterday by McMaster, who, according to a White House official, decided that "a different set of experiences is best-suited to carrying that work forward."”
Reforming the U.S. National Security Enterprise
By Phillip Breton, Michael Gaffney, Michael Langan, and Amanda Werkheiser, Strategy Bridge: “The national security enterprise needs modernization. Traditional challenges from nation-states, non-state actors and trans-regional or multi-domain threats can disrupt U.S. national interests and global peace. Dealing with these challenges requires the application of all instruments of national power to achieve U.S. national security goals. No single element of national power can comprehensively address global challenges for the U.S., nor can a single U.S. government department or agency meet those challenges alone.”