• Stoner’s Quantitative and Qualitative Assessment of Russia’s New Strength

    Understanding Russia’s power and the Russian leadership’s goals is a necessary task in formulating effective policy. Moreover, as Russia has become considerably more powerful over the last two decades, the stakes in accurately discerning the Kremlin’s motives have become commensurately higher.If Russia Resurrected approached these challenges with more care, discipline and nuance, it could have been an important work.

  • Russia's Secret Services Betray Their Weakness

    Spying, attacks, murder: Moscow’s secret services have shown they are capable of striking even in the heart of the West. Intelligence experts, however, say they are marked by failure and limited means.

  • New AI tool Tracks Evolution of COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories on Social Media

    A new machine-learning program accurately identifies COVID-19-related conspiracy theories on social media and models how they evolved over time—a tool that could someday help public health officials combat misinformation online.

  • Superspreaders of Malign and Subversive Information on COVID-19

    The global spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) created a fertile ground for attempts to influence and destabilize different populations and countries. Both Russia and China have employed information manipulation during the COVID-19 pandemic to tarnish the reputation of the United States by emphasizing challenges with its pandemic response and characterizing U.S. systems as inadequate, and both countries falsely accused the United States of developing and intentionally spreading the virus.

  • China's Disappeared Uyghurs: What Satellite Images Reveal

    One million Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities, maybe more, have vanished into a sprawling network of camps and prisons in China’s far west. Chinese officials at first denied the camps even existed. Then they claimed they were for training workers, or for re-educating potential radicals. Then they said it didn’t matter—everyone had graduated and was free to go. Satellite data reviewed by RAND tell a different story.

  • The SolarWinds Hack Was All but Inevitable – Why National Cyber Defense Is a “Wicked” Problem and What Can Be Done about It

    Software supply chains are vulnerable to hackers: Many U.S. companies outsource software development because of a talent shortage, and some of that outsourcing goes to companies in Eastern Europe that are vulnerable to Russian operatives. One problem is that U.S. national cyber defense is split between the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security, which leaves gaps in authority. There are no easy solutions to shoring up U.S. national cyber defenses.

  • Punitive Response to SolarWinds Would Be Misplaced, But Cyber Deterrence Still Matters

    Some analysts argue that the United States should respond to the SolarWinds breach by focusing on improving defenses, rather than on conducting a retaliatory response such as some government officials have been advocating. Apunitive response to SolarWinds may be unwise because the available evidence indicates that the objective of the operation was national security espionage. However, this does not mean that the pursuit of deterrence strategies to address other types of malicious behavior in cyberspace, beyond espionage, is a fool’s errand. Deterrence is not a one-size-fits-all concept in cyberspace—or in any other domain.

  • In the Wake of SolarWinds: Making and Breaking a Rules-Based Global Cyber Order

    We should recognize that the need to make careful distinctions between different categories of cyber operations, and shun the use of emotive and misleading language about “attacks,” should also be extended to the field of political influence via the internet. Using cyberspace to spread propaganda, influence political outcomes and reveal or invent damaging information is an extension of tactics that have been used in different ways for millennia—including by the U.S. Actually trying to rig U.S. elections by tampering with the count online would be completely different and vastly more serious.

  • Coup Plots, Poison, Hacking, Sabotage: What Is the GRU’s Unit 29155?

    In 2012, the salaries of service members of three Russian intelligence units within the GRU were increased significantly. One of these units, Unit 29155, has grabbed outsized attention, having been linked by 2018 to an alleged coup plot in Montenegro and the near-fatal poisonings of a former Russian military intelligence officer in England and an arms dealer in Bulgaria. Now, Czech government allegations that the unit’s members were behind a 2014 explosion at a Czech ammunition depot. “These are the guys you send in because you want to break stuff,” said an expert on Russian security services.

  • The Sino-American Race for Technology Leadership

    The reaction in Washington – one of alarm and outrage — to reports that China trawls America’s open innovation ecosystem stealing prized technologies got that much right. AI and quantum computing, to name just two of them, could change the balance of global power. In identifying economic competitiveness, innovation, and democratic principles as core pillars of national security, the Trump team was on the right track, but instead of offering a coherent strategic response, the Trump administration opted for export and foreign investment control laws with broad and vague reach. “This approach was counterproductive to American innovation leadership. It also failed to address the reality that acquisition of U.S. technology is not the only challenge from China or even, arguably, the most important,” Ferial Ara Saeed writes.

  • Mathematics Professor and University Researcher Indicted for Grant Fraud

    A federal grand jury in Carbondale, Ill. On Wednesday returned an indictment charging a mathematics professor and researcher at Southern Illinois University – Carbondale (SIUC) with two counts of wire fraud and one count of making a false statement. The prosecution is part of the Justice Department’s ongoing China Initiative. Led by the Department’s National Security Division, the China Initiative is a broad, multi-faceted effort to counter Chinese national security threats and safeguard American intellectual property.

  • Legislation Introduced to Ban TikTok from Government Devices

    U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Josh Hawley (R-MO), and Rick Scott (R-FL) have introduced legislation that would ban all federal employees from using TikTok on government devices. The U.S. State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and TSA have already banned TikTok on federal devices due to cybersecurity concerns and the potential for spying by the Chinese government.

  • U.S. Expels Russian Diplomats, Imposes New Sanctions on Russia in Retaliation for Hacking, “harmful activities”

    The U.S. has imposed a new round of sanctions against Russia targeting what it calls the “harmful” foreign activities of Moscow. U.S. intelligence officials have pointed the finger at Russia for a massive hack known as SolarWinds that hit large swaths of the U.S. public and private sectors last year. Widely used software is believed to have been infected with malicious code, enabling hackers to access at least nine U.S. agencies, dozens of corporations.

  • U.S. Treasury Provides Missing Link: Manafort’s Partner Gave Campaign Polling Data to Kremlin in 2016

    The U.S. Treasury Department said Thursday that Konstantin Kilimnik, an associate and ex-employee of Paul Manafort, “provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy,” during the 2016 election. Justin Hendrix writes that this is an apparently definitive statement that neither Special Counsel Robert Mueller nor the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation made in their final reports.

  • Messaging Authoritarianism: China’s Four Messaging Pillars and How ‘Wolf Warrior’ Tactics Undermine Them

    A messaging strategy is only as good as the goal it serves; as Xi Jinping has made clear, China is seeking to make the world safer for its brand of authoritarianism by reshaping the world order. An analysis of messaging from China’s diplomats, state-backed media, and leaders of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) demonstrates that Beijing repeatedly uses narratives, angles, and comparisons that serve to change perceptions about China’s autocracy and the United States’ democracy—to China’s advantage.