Politics & Policy

Upgraded power grid protection

A bill designed to establish an advisory group of public and private sector representatives, tasked with supporting federal efforts to improve protection of the U.S. electricity grid against cyber attacks, has been approved by the House of Representatives homeland committee. One of several such measures before Congress, it would rotate membership of the proposed advisory group every two years. [node:read-more:link]

The promise and threat of 5G

While the U.S. government and the private sector are excited about the potential of 5G telecommunications, they also worry about its potential use as a weapon against networks. Among those expressing concern are former Federal Communications Chairman Tom Wheeler, current FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, and former National Security Council Senior Director for Strategic Planning Robert Spalding. [node:read-more:link]

Ukraine envoy quits

Kurt Volker, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO and the Department of State’s unpaid prt-time special envoy for Ukraine, has stepped down. He reportedly quit because he felt he could no longer be effective due to the mounting controversy over President Donald Trump’s conversations with his Ukrainian counterpart. Volker is expected to appear before a congressional committee this week. [node:read-more:link]

Trump rhetoric menacing?

The ongoing whistleblower controversy in Washington has taken a dark turn with President Donald Trump suggesting to a group of foreign sevice officers that whoever provided the whistleblower with information about his highly-publicized telephone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart is “close” to being a spy. [node:read-more:link]

Washington v. Beijing

As China has become more authoritarian even as it prospers economically, its militarization of the South China Sea and its trade practices have helped to persuade many that President Donald Trump has spurred an essential U.S. policy debate. However, a Rand Corp. “policy currents” commentary suggests Trump’s stance may be unlikely to engender much third-country support. [node:read-more:link]

NATO’s eastern flank bolstered

More than 500 U.S. troops and dozens of combat vehicles are being deployed on an extended mission to Lithuania, part of the Atlantic Resolve campaign whereby the Army rotates deployments in Eastern Europe as a deterrent to Russian aggression. Lithuania has lobbied for an enhanced presence ever since Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula five years ago. [node:read-more:link]

European capability gap

A capability gap between the U.S. and some European militaries could become “unworkable” if it is allowed to widen, according to “Multi-Domain Operations 2028”, a report published by the Association of the U.S. Army Institute of Land Warfare. It warns that if the U.S. doesn’t engage its allies early in new developments, there is a risk of divergent capabilities which would undermine interoperability. [node:read-more:link]

Technology trends scrutinized

The U.S. Government Accountability Office’s Center for Strategic Foresight is trying to ensure that Congress is on top of technological trends and issues. Launched two years ago, the Center is expected to provide an overall picture of trends, opportunities and challenges. [node:read-more:link]

The “Terminator” factor

The U.S. Air Force officer who heads the Joint Artificial Intelligence Centre in the Department of Defense says there is “no stronger proponent” for AI within the DoD. However, as the U.S. begins a multi-billion-dollar modernization of its Nuclear Command, Control and Communications facilities, LGen Jack Shanahan says he pauses when AI is considered for NC3. [node:read-more:link]

Canada revokes appointment of Assad supporter

Government Affairs Minister Christia Freeland has revoked the appointment of Waseem Ramli as Syrian Honorary Consul in Montreal. Ramli is known for tweeting extreme and pro-Assad views. “No one who shares Mr. Ramli’s views should have ever been approved by Global Affairs Canada to serve in this capacity. Upon review of the department’s decision, I have instructed officials to immediately revoke his status.” [node:read-more:link]

Iran open to conciliation?

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says he is opten to “small changes, additions or amendments” to his country’s 2015 nuclear agreement with six wetern powers if the U.S. lifts economic sanctions. President Donald Trump, immediate rejected the offer when both leaders were at United Nations headquarters in New York. [node:read-more:link]

NATO’s value growing

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says that in times of global uncertainty, the military alliance and other international institutions can only grow in value. U.S. President Donald Trump, once again lamenting NATO funding by other alliance members, has said that the future “does not belong to globalists.” [node:read-more:link]

U.K. prorogation unlawful

Britain’s highest court has ruled unanimously that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s recent prorogation of Parliament was unlawful. House of Commons Speaker John Bercow said Parliament would resume Sept. 25 while Johnson was in New York, where he was expected to discuss his Brexit plan with other European Union leaders on the sidelines of a UN General Assembly. [node:read-more:link]

Syrian consul controversy

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has asked her officials to explain how an alleged Syrian government sympathizer has been appointed its honorary consul in Montreal. Freeland is reported to be “shocked” by public statements by Waseem Ramli, whose appointment was approved in August and who is in a position to influence the Syrian diaspora. [node:read-more:link]

NATO ill-prepared for drone attacks

The evolution of asymmetric warfare means that NATO isn’t prepared to repel attacks by swarms of small drones and short-range missiles, according to Jason Rood, U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for policy. He says such threats have developed faster than the alliance’s ability to rework missile defense and radar systems to detect small fast objects. [node:read-more:link]

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