• DARPA tests advanced chemical sensors

    DARPA’s SIGMA program, which began in 2014, has demonstrated a city-scale capability for detecting radiological and nuclear threats that is now being operationally deployed. DARPA is building off this work with the SIGMA+ initiative that is focused on providing city- to region-scale detection capabilities across the full chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive threat space.

  • Analytic superiority, public-private cooperation and the future of U.S. foreign intelligence

    After years of focusing on counterterrorism, a mainly kinetic threat, the U.S. intelligence community must now adapt to a long-term cyber struggle with nation-state adversaries. This struggle includes election interference and other socio-political disruption, cyber sabotage, theft of secrets, and competition in emerging technologies such as quantum computing and 5G wireless communications. David Kris writes in Lawfare that to succeed against these threats, the intelligence community must shift its approach in two related ways. First, it must focus on analytic superiority as well as cryptographic superiority—terms that I explain below but that basically require a shift in emphasis from accessing data to managing and using data. Second, to achieve analytic superiority, the intelligence community must develop stronger partnerships with the private sector and academia, and a broader base of external support with the American people.

  • Iran officially begins unlimited production of enriched uranium, heavy water

    Iran has officially ended its compliance with several commitments under the 2015 nuclear accord, an informed official in the country’s atomic energy body told local media channels on Wednesday.

  • Russia has Americans’ weaknesses all figured out

    What are Americans supposed to think when their leaders contradict one another on the most basic question of national security—who is the enemy? Is Russia the enemy, or was the investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election just a slow-motion attack on the president and his supporters? Are Russian fake-news troll farms stirring up resentment among the American electorate, or are mainstream-media outlets just making things up? Jim Sciutto writes in Defense One that U.S. military commanders, national-security officials, and intelligence analysts have a definitive answer: Russia is an enemy. It is taking aggressive action right now, from cyberspace to outer space, and all around the world, against the United States and its allies. But the public has been slow to catch on, polls suggest, and Trump has given Americans little reason to believe that their president recognizes Russia’s recent actions as a threat.

  • The (evolving) art of war

    In 1969, the Soviet Union moved troops and military equipment to its border with China, escalating tensions between the communist Cold War powers. In response, China created a new military strategy of “active defense” to repel an invading force near the border. There was just one catch: China did not actually implement its new strategy until 1980.

  • What helps, or prevents, U.S. military interventions from achieving their goals?

    Using an original data set of 145 ground, air, and naval interventions from 1898 through 2016, a new report identifies those factors that have made U.S. military interventions more or less successful at achieving their political objectives. The United States has successfully achieved its political objectives in about 63 percent of the interventions, but the levels of success have been declining over time as the United States has pursued increasingly ambitious objectives.

  • U.S., Russia, China race to develop hypersonic weapons

    Russia and China have recently touted their progress in developing hypersonic vehicles, which fly much faster than the speed of sound, which is 767 mph. Hypersonic missiles are rocket-boosted to high altitude and may be launched from land, sea or air. Over the past 60 years, U.S. interest in hypersonic vehicles has waxed and waned. Now it seems the U.S. is back in the hypersonic effort in a serious way.

  • Using AI in future hypersonic systems

    A test launch for a hypersonic weapon — a long-range missile that flies a mile per second and faster — takes weeks of planning. So, while the U.S. and other states are racing to deploy hypersonic technologies, it remains uncertain how useful the systems will be against urgent, mobile or evolving threats. Sandia National Laboratories thinks artificial intelligence and autonomy could slash these weeks to minutes for deployed systems.

  • World military expenditure reaches $1.8 trillion in 2018

    Military spending in Ukraine and several other Central and Eastern European countries rose sharply in 2018, largely in reaction to perceived threats from Russia, a leading research institute says. Total world military expenditure rose to $1822 billion in 2018, representing an increase of 2.6 percent from 2017, according to new data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

  • Nonviolent ways to exploit Russian vulnerabilities

    Russia’s use of information warfare and its conventional military arsenal make it a formidable opponent, but the state also has significant weaknesses that could be exploited, according to a new report.

  • Lasting U.S. preeminence: A review of Michael Beckley’s “Unrivaled”

    The Economist last year proclaimed that the “Chinese century is well under way,” and that China is on its way to replacing the United States as the new global “hegemon.” Tufts University’s Michael Beckley says: Not so fast. He argues not only that U.S. preeminence is safer than most contemporary commentary would have one believe, but also that it is more resilient: “Unipolarity is not guaranteed to endure,” he concludes, “but present trends strongly suggest that it will last for many decades.”

  • Climate change: Our greatest national security threat?

    The climate century is here: the earth is warming, humans are to blame, and we must take immediate action now to prepare for climate change’s massively disruptive consequences. Mark Nevitt writes in Just Security that No longer can climate change be categorized solely as an environmental issue—it is a grave threat to national security. Indeed, it may be the threat. While there are many national security challenges facing the nation and the world, climate change is an aptly described “super wicked” problem that exacerbates and accelerates already existing threats.

  • Israeli air strike destroys Iranian missile production, storage facility in Syria

    Satellite images released Sunday by ImageSat International (ISI) showed the impact of an airstrike, blamed on Israel, on a missile base in Syria on Saturday evening that reportedly killed Iranian personnel. Israeli analysts say that recent Israeli air strikes in Syria probably would not have passed without public Russian comment had Israel and Russia not reached an understanding designed to reduce possible friction and improve early warning between Israeli and Russian armed forces operating in Syria.

  • As Russia expanded its Arctic Sea presence, U.S. observers see veiled threat

    Some U.S. military officials and legislators have expressed concern that Washington isn’t paying enough attention to Russia’s military entrenchment in the region. They say the Department of Defense Arctic Strategy, last updated in 2017, largely got overlooked in the more all-encompassing National Defense Strategy, the main U.S. military strategy document signed by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

  • Killer robots already exist, and they’ve been here a very long time

    The question is not so much whether we should use autonomous weapon systems in battle – we already use them, and they take many forms. Rather, we should focus on how we use them, why we use them, and what form – if any – human intervention should take.