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Military Times Speaks to Professor Robert Murrett About China’s Navy

China’s navy has more ships than the US. Does that matter?

(Military Times | April 9, 2021) Exactly if and when the increasing antagonism between United States and China will boil over into full-on conflict remains anybody’s guess.

But for now, one thing is as clear as the aqua-blue waters that lap up on the shores of China’s man-made islands in the South China Sea: Beijing’s naval fleet is larger than that of the U.S. Navy.

Citing the Office of Naval Intelligence, a Congressional Research Service report from March notes that the People’s Liberation Army Navy, or PLAN, was slated to have 360 battle force ships by the end of 2020, dwarfing the U.S. fleet of 297 ships.

Such numbers are hard to pinpoint because the PLAN doesn’t release public reports on its future shipbuilding efforts like the U.S. Navy does …

… When it comes to fleet size, Robert Murrett notes that China’s fleet largely remains in its backyard, while a good number of the U.S. force is underway around the world, making a number-to-number assessment incomplete.

There’s also a tendency to view any maritime conflict between the United States and China as a two-party affair, which sidelines the significant role America’s allies in the region would likely play, Murrett said.

Japan, Australia and South Korea all sport robust navies in the region, and the United States is increasingly working to bring India into the fold as that country deals with its own Beijing-related rivalries.

“We just take for granted the incredible network of allies we have around the world,” Murrett said. “The view from Beijing in terms of maritime partners is pretty bleak. They don’t have any that are worth mentioning” …

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Professor Robert Murrett Talks to Fox News About Russia’s Arctic Build-Up

Putin so upset over Biden’s killer comments he moved 28,000 Russian troops to Ukraine border, report

(Fox News | April 8, 2021) Vladimir Putin was reportedly so angered when President Joe Biden called him a “killer” in his first sit-down interview after taking office, the Russian president left his quarantine, got a COVID vaccination and moved 28,000 Russian troops to the border with Ukraine.

“It was really a shock. And it changed his behavior a lot,” argues Pavel Baev, a senior researcher at Norway’s International Peace Research Institute in Oslo.

Russian Bear bombers went into action, forcing NATO to scramble 10 jets to intercept the Russian warplanes flying over the North Atlantic Ocean last week, a rare show of force near the Arctic. On Monday, Putin quietly changed Russia’s constitution to allow him to stay in power until 2036. He would be 83 years old …

… Vice Admiral Robert Murrett is the deputy director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University and served as the director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency for four years overseeing the Pentagon’s top secret spy satellites until 2010. He says Russia is developing a series of weapons that are very concerning to the U.S. military.

“The Arctic is a terrific shortcut, whether you’re in an aircraft, whether you’re underneath the surface of the ocean and also for intercontinental ballistic missile, this goes back to the Cold War,” said Murrett, who has spent his career watching Russian military movements.

The U.S. Air Force recently deployed 4 B-1 bombers to an Arctic base in Norway for the first time, another sign that Putin is getting the response he wants: attention and a diversion from his domestic opponents.

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Experts worry Russia is seeking a ‘new Cold War’

(Fox News | April 8, 2021) FOX News’ Jennifer Griffin reports Russia is expanding its military bases in the Arctic on ‘Special Report’ …

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Professor Corri Zoli Speaks to SCMP About Xinjiang, Global Brands, and Human Rights

UN panel warns that ‘well-known global brands’ may be linked to Xinjiang human rights abuses

(South China Morning Post | March 30, 2020) Scores of Chinese and foreign companies producing “well-known global brands” may be involved in human trafficking, forced labour and other human rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang region, a United Nations working group said on Monday, calling more attention to an issue that Beijing is increasingly on the defensive about.

“Several experts appointed by the Human Rights Council said they had received information that connected over 150 domestic Chinese and foreign domiciled companies to serious allegations of human rights abuses against Uygur workers,” the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said …

Corri Zoli, director of research at the Institute for Security Policy and Law at Syracuse University in New York, called accounts of abuse in Xinjiang from groups including Human Rights Watch “increasingly reliable” and said they buttressed the UN working group’s investigations.

“These specific reports, data collection and outreach efforts are unifying international pressure from many angles,” Zoli said. “What we are seeing in this issue is the first-generation of the supply chain wars with complex information campaigns overlaid on these conflicts” …

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Professor Robert Murrett: China Has a Large and Growing Navy—What is the Rest of the Story?

By Robert B. Murrett, Deputy Director, Institute for Security Policy and Law

(Military Times | March 22, 2021) There is a good deal of interest these days in the growth of the Chinese navy, known officially as the Peoples Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). Most of the discussion tends to focus on the steady and significant increase in the inventory of PLAN ships and submarines, as well as the gradual expansion of the operational reach of these ships.

However, the other dimensions of seapower that constitute the real effectiveness of any navy are not always sufficiently considered. In the case of China, an assessment of strategy, operational proficiency, regional and global naval power, and leadership deserve additional emphasis.

The PLAN “order of battle” — the total number of ships, submarines, naval aircraft and supporting infrastructure continue to make gains, which will likely continue in future years. With this as a baseline, the strategic, operational and tactical proficiency of the Chinese navy has also made progress in parallel, with varied results. At the strategic level, the Chinese navy has attempted to strike a balance between regional focus on the western Pacific and adjoining waters, and other, sustained operations in distant waters.

While it is accurate that the Chinese navy has expanded the scope of their operations over the past decade, they do not have sustained global presence and reach. Concentrating maritime power in areas such as the East China Sea and South China Sea has certain advantages, although the cumulative impact of years of at-sea time and tough challenges in the world’s oceans is an important barometer of capability. The PLAN will achieve the proficiency associated with extended maritime employment in time, but a strategy which allows both a regional and global deployment posture has yet to be fully realized.

As China’s strategic naval posture is dealt with, operational-level skills associated with complex warfare challenges are a second important standard. Integrated anti-surface, anti-submarine and anti-air operations are fundamental and can only be gained by hard experience. These warfare basics should be viewed in the context of operational-level integrated joint and combined command, control and communications, and a sober assessment of Chinese capability and experience in this area cannot be overemphasized …

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Hon. James E. Baker to Speak at CSIS Civic Education and National Security Event, March 12, 2021

March 12, 2021 | 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

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As part of its Strategic Dialogue on Civic Education as a National Security Imperative, CSIS invites you to a conversation with FBI Director Christopher Wray and national security lawyers to get their perspectives on why civic education is a national security issue.

Why is it important for the American public to understand the role of national security institutions and the rule of law in our democracy? Why is it important for individuals operating within these institutions to come in with a strong understanding of these concepts? And how does civic education play a role in rebuilding that trust, maximizing security, and strengthening our democracy?

Following opening remarks from Director Wray and a fireside chat with Suzanne Spaulding, Senior Adviser for Homeland Security at CSIS, CSIS will host an expert panel co-sponsored by the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Law and National Security.

PANELISTS

  • James E. Baker, Director, Institute for Security Policy and Law, Syracuse University; Former Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
  • Steve Bunnell, Chief Legal Officer, Diem Association; Former General Counsel, DHS
  • M. Tia Johnson, Visiting Professor, Georgetown Law; Colonel (ret.), U.S. Army JAG Corps
  • Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, Former General Counsel, NSA and CIA
  • Jennifer O’Connor, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Northrop Grumman; Former General Counsel, DoD
  • Christopher Wray, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation
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The Centaur’s Dilemma Reviewed by APSA Law and Politics

By Tobias T. Gibson, Department of Political Science, Westminster College

Judge James E. Baker, Director of the Institute for Security Policy and Law and Professor of Law at Syracuse Law School, begins THE CENTAUR’S DILEMMA with two truisms. The first is that artificial intelligence (AI) is widespread and will only become more ubiquitous. The second is that law is rarely, and perhaps never, in line with the technology that it is supposed to govern.

As described by Baker, the approaching dilemma is that of decision making, especially in the realm of national security, that will combine human and machine—like the half human, half horse centaur of mythology. Yet, while this is imminent, and in some ways a current issue—think of your reliance on the Waze app—Baker’s stated goal of this book is to allow generalists, including policymakers, to debate and design a legal framework. The time is now because allowing time for debate, including a wide variety of stakeholders, will allow lawmakers “to make informed, purposeful, and accountable decisions about the security use of governance of AI” (pp. 5-6).

The first four chapters of the book establish the problems and provocations of artificial intelligence in a national security setting. To be sure, uses and issues related to AI will certainly arise in areas of policy spaces related to traditional national security spheres, such as military and intelligence. Fighter pilots, autonomous vehicles—whether air based “drones,” or increasingly land and water-based ones—and international surveillance tools and data collection all will be enhanced by cooperative work between human and AI. Baker’s work is focused on establishing a protocol of law and policy that will not allow the cooption of decision making by the coming, and many would argue present, AI revolution.

However, he also adds that the use of AI in everyday items, the so-called Internet of things, also needs to be governed to prevent excessive action on the part of the government and corporations that build smart cars, smart toasters, smart coffee makers, smart refrigerators, and smart phones. As Baker notes, a series of recent Supreme Court cases, discussed below, have led to bright lines in the ways that collected data is used by law enforcement. However, there is much to discern and develop, as AI technology advances beyond Facebook and Amazon algorithms and becomes far more ubiquitous.

That said, however, some of the most directly applicable and, quite frankly, most developed portions of the proposed framework are found in case law, much of which is seminal …

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Professor Corri Zoli: Intelligence Strategy Highlights Workforce

A new plan aims to retain and recruit diverse experts.

By Corri Zoli & Brian Holmes

(AFCEA Signal | March 1, 2021) For many in the U.S. intelligence community, choosing the profession was neither a career goal nor even a consideration until later in life. Few set out to join the agencies that comprise the community while in high school or college. This pattern—usually based on a knowledge gap—needs to change immediately to meet the United States’ national imperative for a talented and diverse workforce.

Because the U.S. intelligence community’s federal workforce is responsible for a disproportionate impact on the country’s security and has global implications, leaders must take a more proactive stance, driven by their external academic engagement programs, to meet their own staffing strategies. The 2019 National Intelligence Strategy clearly expresses this imperative. In addition, the need for a workforce of experts also requires using innovative engagement solutions for intelligence community advisers to understand better and even drive technology advances in real time to broaden their own knowledge base.

The reasons for the current makeup of intelligence community employees are many. Historical unfamiliarity with the community can produce a schizophrenic public perception, resulting in an overly homogeneous workforce. In addition, a deficiency of education about a potential career in the field creates an inherent barrier to entry for many potential employees; therefore, a smaller pool of candidates for the agencies to draw on.

Unfortunately, this paradigm is counter to research that shows intelligence community agencies would benefit from socially diverse groups, which are more innovative and better at solving complex nonroutine problems, a typical environment for an intelligence officer …

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Professor Mark Nevitt: Is Climate Change a National Emergency?

(Just Security | Feb. 25, 2021)  Members of Congress recently introduced legislation mandating the declaration of a national climate emergency, while Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) invited President Joe Biden to declare climate change a national emergency. Reaction to these calls for a climate emergency has been mixed. Some environmentalists cheered. Others argued that using emergency powers to address climate change won’t help Biden fight it and would pose an unacceptable risk to democratic governance. 

These criticisms are not unfair, and they deserve careful consideration. But in light of the current, sobering state of climate science as well as the scientists’ call to take transformational action this decade, a climate national emergency should not be dismissed out of hand.

To be sure, declaring a climate emergency will not “solve” the climate crisis, and it shouldn’t be a substitute for legislative efforts and the work of the international Paris Climate Agreement (which the United States recently re-joined). It would, however, send a powerful signal from the White House about the urgency of the climate crisis—while also activating several legal authorities that could be put to work immediately. It would also reflect reality. A legal climate emergency acknowledges what climate scientists and experts already know: We are in a state of planetary emergency.

Climate Change: The One-Shot Problem

Climate change is unlike any problem facing the nation and the world: It has been aptly described as the “mother of all collective action” problems and a “super-wicked” problem.

Climate change is complicated by a unique temporal characteristic that penalizes inaction. Because greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions stay in the atmosphere for decades, dithering on climate action imposes escalating costs that rise over time. Unlike other thorny problems (e.g. health care, immigration), we may lack the luxury of ever coming back to the political system for a climate retry in the future—this is the so-called “one shot” problem. At some point, the effects of climate change will be too acute, have had too much impact, or be too late to stop or reverse. Climate scientists exclaim that now is the time for political leaders to take our “climate shot” or risk irreversible, catastrophic harm, not just to Americans, but to humans as a species …

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Hon. James E. Baker Featured on Ipse Dixit Podcast

Host Brian L. Frye and Institute for Security Policy and Law Director the Hon. James E. Baker discuss Baker’s new book “The Centaur’s Dilemma: National Security Law for the Coming AI Revolution”(Brookings, 2021).

Baker begins by explaining why he thinks artificial intelligence requires us to think about the relationship between people and machines in new ways. He describes some of the national security implications of artificial intelligence technology and its implementation. And he reflects on how policymakers should think about those questions.

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SPL Researcher Matt Mittelsteadt Publishes AI Verification Report with CSET

The rapid integration of artificial intelligence into military systems raises critical questions of ethics, design and safety. While many states and organizations have called for some form of “AI arms control,” few have discussed the technical details of verifying countries’ compliance with these regulations.

In this peer-reviewed report—”Mechanisms to Ensure AI Arms Control Compliance“—Institute for Security Policy and Law AI Policy Research Fellow Matthew Mittelsteadt offers a starting point, defines the goals of “AI verification,” and proposes several mechanisms to support arms inspections and continuous verification.

The report is part of a research partnership between SPL and the Center for Security and Emerging Technology investigating the legal, policy, and security impacts of emerging technology.

Mittelsteadt explains that his report defines “AI Verification” as the process of determining whether countries’ AI and AI systems comply with treaty obligations. “AI Verification Mechanisms” are tools that ensure regulatory compliance by discouraging or detecting the illicit use of AI by a system or illicit AI control over a system.

Despite the importance of AI verification, few practical verification mechanisms have been proposed to support most regulation in consideration. Without proper verification mechanisms, AI arms control will languish.

To this end, Mittelsteadt’s report seeks to jumpstart the regulatory conversation by proposing mechanisms of AI verification to support AI arms control.

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