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While the US debates, China implements the concept of a Cyber Force



While the US debates, China implements the concept of a Cyber Force


While the US discusses forming its own Cyber Force, China has emphasized its equivalent, the People’s Liberation Army-Strategic Support Force (PLA-SSF), as a crucial aspect of its military modernization strategy. Recently, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a US think tank, issued a report advocating for the establishment of a US Cyber Force to enhance national capabilities in cyber warfare. The report underscores the necessity of addressing shortages and inefficiencies in personnel within the current military framework, which hinder effective recruitment, training, promotion, and retention of cyber experts. Drawing comparisons, the FDD report links the creation of the US Cyber Force with the establishment of the US Space Force and US Air Force, all driven by the imperative to adapt to changing domains of warfare, including air, space, and cyberspace.

The US Cyber Command (US CYBERCOM) is experiencing a shortage of qualified personnel due to the decentralized operational approach of the US Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. The report, based on 75 interviews, highlights the concerning state of readiness of the cyber force, attributing it to recruitment challenges and promotion systems unsuitable for cyberspace operations.

The FDD report suggests establishing the US Cyber Force as an independent branch, similar to the model of the US Space Force. It argues that only through a dedicated cyber-service can the systemic issues affecting the US cyber defense capabilities be effectively addressed. Other suggestions aim at mitigating cyber personnel shortages within the military without creating a separate force.

In a May 2021 article for War on the Rocks, David Barno and Nora Bensahel contend that despite the crucial role of cyberspace in both the US military and society, the coordination of the country’s cyber defense, deterrence, and offensive capabilities is lacking, necessitating the establishment of a unified Cyber Force.

A report released in September 2023 by the US Cyberspace Solarium Commission (CSC) highlights espionage activities conducted by China and Russia targeting the US government and critical industries. These operations involve embedding malware in essential infrastructure, potentially paving the way for future malicious activities. Furthermore, the report points out the expanding activities of criminal groups engaged in ransomware and cyber theft, posing significant threats to both public and private sectors.

The CSC report reveals that the implementation of recommendations outlined in its previous 2020 report has been fragmented, with only about 70% of them either implemented or nearing implementation. These recommendations aim to reform the structure of the US government’s cyberspace policies, reinforce norms and non-military tools, enhance cybersecurity, collaborate with the private sector, and safeguard cyberspace as a military asset.

Similar to the stance of the FDD report, Barno and Bensahel argue that establishing a US Cyber Force would foster innovation and flexibility in developing strategies, technologies, and doctrines for cyber warfare. They draw parallels to the creation of the US Air Force, emphasizing the necessity of fully leveraging the potential of air power in military operations.

Barno and Bensahel also highlight that establishing a US Cyber Force could enhance the military’s ability to recruit and train cyber experts from a more diverse talent pool. They suggest that this could result in the creation of specialized career paths and training programs tailored to the unique demands of cyber operations.

On the other hand, some argue that the current structure of US CYBERCOM could suffice with a significant overhaul, and that forming a US Cyber Force might introduce inefficiencies. In an August 2021 article published in War on the Rocks, Jason Blessing argues that extensive military reorganization could result in inefficiency and demoralization.

Blessing challenges the idea that cyberspace operates independently of the domains of sea, air, land, and space, stressing its intricate intersections and interdependencies with other operational environments. He suggests that US Cyber Command is presently capable of integrating digital capabilities with kinetic ones and proposes that the US should concentrate on improving effectiveness with the existing force rather than investing resources in establishing a new service, which he believes would be wasteful in terms of time, energy, and finances.

In a September 2023 article for Breaking Defense, Jaspreet Gill discusses the potential challenges of establishing a separate cyber service, noting that it could complicate understanding the warfighting needs of military branches engaged in various missions enabled by specific technologies. Gill mentions that the US Department of Defense (DOD) is examining the management challenges of cyber operations across multiple services to decide whether to reform the current system or adopt a new one.

Both Blessing and Gill agree that creating a separate US Cyber Force might hinder the integration of cyber operations with traditional military functions. They argue that cyber operations often complement and enhance existing capabilities, and a separate Cyber Force could lead to coordination and operational efficiency issues. Additionally, Blessing highlights the potential redundancy of maintaining both US CYBERCOM and a US Cyber Force, particularly concerning command structure, operational focus, and resource allocation.

While the US deliberates on establishing an independent cyber force, China is expanding the roles of its PLA-SSF. In a recent article for the South China Morning Post (SCMP), Amber Wang discusses the broad responsibilities of the Chinese PLA-SSF, which include space, cyber, electromagnetic, and psychological warfare capabilities, along with providing intelligence support to all military branches and aiding in joint operations.

Wang emphasizes the heavy integration of PLA-SSF with civilian technological innovation, particularly in AI development, to bolster China’s military capabilities. She notes that this integration is central to the PLA’s modernization efforts and strategies for “intelligent warfare” to ensure future readiness.

Furthermore, Wang suggests that the development of PLA-SSF reflects China’s response to complex geopolitical challenges and its pursuit of asymmetrical advantages over potential adversaries. She points out that PLA-SSF activities, such as supporting military exercises around Taiwan and advancements in space and cyber capabilities, could have significant implications for dynamics in the Indo-Pacific region.

However, Wang highlights a potential vulnerability of PLA-SSF: its reliance on high-tech equipment, particularly high-end AI chips subject to US export controls.

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Will the Israel-Gaza conflict affect Joe Biden’s chances of re-election?



Will the Israel-Gaza conflict affect Joe Biden’s chances of re-election
Creator: Cameron Smith | Credit: White House

When major issues in American foreign policy intersect with election periods, they often spell trouble for the incumbent president. Like several predecessors, US President Joe Biden is dealing with significant challenges like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, some of which were inherited from previous governments, including the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Others, like the Israeli retaliation in Gaza and Iran’s involvement, involve complexities from both current and past administrations. With these significant crises converging during a tense election season, it’s understandable that Biden’s foreign policy is under close examination. Thus, it raises the question of how this administration’s foreign policy might affect voter decisions in the upcoming November elections.

Back to Afghanistan

Many observers believe that President Biden’s foreign policy difficulties began with what has often been labeled the “botched” American exit from Afghanistan. Although this event alone, despite the severe yet preventable consequences that ensued, is unlikely to significantly affect electoral outcomes beyond the concerns raised by some commentators. However, this might not hold true for other global crises currently confronting the Biden administration, particularly its handling of the situation in Gaza. Predicting voter behavior is notoriously challenging, especially well ahead of election day. Yet, examining how international crises have historically influenced voter intentions can shed light on how Americans perceive their global role and the potential impact this perception could have on their selection of a leader in the upcoming election.

Read More: Biden tells Netanyahu that the US will not take part in a counter-strike against Iran

1968 redux?

This year, the Democratic National Convention is set to take place in Chicago, Illinois, echoing the unsettling similarities to the year 1968 when it was last hosted there. That year, amidst a turbulent political climate driven by foreign policy crises, the convention was marked by significant discord.

In 1968, America was grappling with the aftermath of the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy, intense civil rights turmoil, and the deepening conflict in Vietnam. As the Democratic Party convened in Chicago, it faced a profound crisis. The convention was met with large-scale anti-war demonstrations against U.S. involvement in Vietnam, which culminated in violent clashes with police, resulting in the arrest of 650 protesters.

The chaos at the convention contributed to the Democratic nominee, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, losing the presidential election to Richard Nixon.

Today, while the geopolitical context with the Middle East differs significantly from Vietnam, domestically, the Democratic Party shows similar signs of division, particularly over the Biden administration’s approach to Gaza. During the Michigan state primary in February, over 100,000 Democrats cast “uncommitted” votes in a coordinated effort to push President Biden to take stronger action against the violence in Gaza. This is noteworthy considering Biden’s narrow victory in Michigan by just over 150,000 votes in the 2020 election.

As the convention approaches in August, ongoing peaceful protests at Democratic events are expected to persist, reflecting vital democratic dissent. However, media portrayal of these protests is likely to focus on internal party conflicts, potentially affecting public perceptions of President Biden’s leadership and the overall unity of the party.


Iran has significantly influenced past U.S. elections, and recent events suggest it might do so again. The 1979 Iranian Revolution and the mishandled Iranian hostage crisis are widely considered to have contributed to one of the most significant defeats in modern American political history for then-incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter.

In the midst of the Iranian Revolution, a year before the 1980 election, militant students stormed the American embassy in Tehran, taking over 50 Americans hostage. The crisis, which lasted more than a year, unfolded under the watch of seemingly powerless American officials, and a failed military rescue attempt only added to the debacle.

The revolution, alongside the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979, severely undermined Carter’s authority. His Republican opponent, Ronald Reagan, capitalized on Carter’s perceived weaknesses, campaigning on a promise to “make America great again.”

Carter ultimately lost the election in a landslide, similar to Humphrey in 1968. Notably, the hostages were released on the day of Reagan’s inauguration, a timing many believe was not coincidental. Despite conventional narratives of Carter’s weakness, it’s important to recognize that after the failed rescue, his administration undertook lengthy and tense negotiations with Iran, continuing right up until the end of his term. These negotiations eventually culminated in the hostages’ release. There remain substantial questions about the Reagan campaign’s involvement in the resolution of this crisis.

Perceptions matter

The historical specifics of foreign policy crises hold importance, but their perceptions and the narratives around them often have a greater impact on election outcomes. During his presidency, Jimmy Carter was perceived as ineffectual, contributing to a broader sense of American “malaise,” while Ronald Reagan presented himself as a figure of strength and vitality, ultimately leading to Carter’s electoral defeat. Similarly, that loss profoundly influenced the United States’ global role and the course of history.

Following four years of tumult under Donald Trump, Joe Biden sought to reestablish America as a positive global force, assuring Americans that the “beacon” of U.S. leadership could be reignited. However, there’s a risk that Biden’s own foreign policy could weaken this message and his personal appeal. Current polling indicates that around two-thirds of Americans favor an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Yet, Biden’s seeming inability and unwillingness to separate the U.S. from Israeli actions, coupled with his administration’s ongoing support without conditions on military aid, are fracturing the diverse voting coalition that helped him ascend to power. Maintaining this coalition and ensuring voter turnout are crucial for his re-election prospects.

Moreover, perceptions of Biden’s apparent lack of empathy toward the suffering of Palestinian people, especially children, could severely damage the compassionate image he meticulously crafted—a key element of his 2020 voter appeal. This situation places Biden in a double bind. On one hand, he is seen as overseeing a crisis in American moral leadership, with many believing the “international rules-based order” he vowed to uphold is being applied inconsistently, especially to U.S. allies. On the other hand, Donald Trump, once again his opponent, aims to capitalize on perceived weaknesses by projecting an image of decisive strength, appealing to a vision of America regaining unmatched global dominance, reminiscent of Reagan’s rhetoric.

This perception that Biden’s administration is stumbling through one foreign policy crisis after another only strengthens this narrative. Additionally, there are concerns that his foreign policy team is more focused on tallying “wins” and “losses” rather than addressing the deep-seated, structural issues behind these crises. Whether fair or not, combined with other factors like changing perceptions of the domestic economy, these issues contribute to a notably low approval rating for Biden.

In a closely contested race, where polling shows a margin of error that could swing either way, these perceptions become even more critical. As history shows, the mythologizing of these perceptions can significantly influence election outcomes.

Read More: Poll Indicates Majority of Voters Consider Trump’s Hush Money Case Serious

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Poll Indicates Majority of Voters Consider Trump’s Hush Money Case Serious



Poll Indicates Majority of Voters Consider Trump's Hush Money Case Serious
Get this image on: Flickr | Creator: PO1/USN | Credit: Dominique A. Pineiro

Ahead of the upcoming trial of the former president set to commence next week in New York, a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll indicates that the majority of American voters consider the criminal accusations against Donald Trump, involving purportedly concealing secret payments to a porn star, to be significant.

According to the poll, conducted over five days and concluded on Monday, approximately 64% of registered voters view the allegations as at least “somewhat serious,” while 34% regard them as less important.

The trial, slated to commence next Monday, marks the first of four criminal charges against Trump, who ran as the Republican candidate against Democratic President Joe Biden in the November election.

Legal analysts suggest that the remaining three cases, which involve allegations of election fraud or mishandling of classified documents, are notably more grave compared to the hush money payment allegations.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll indicates that any potential criminal conviction could carry significant repercussions for Trump, who finds himself in a closely contested race with Biden. Trump stands as the first sitting or former US president to confront criminal charges.

Approximately four out of ten Republican respondents perceive the hush money allegations as serious, along with two-thirds of independents. New York prosecutors allege that Trump concealed a $130,000 payment facilitated by his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to porn star Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, in exchange for her silence regarding a purported sexual encounter with Trump a decade prior.

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rump refuted the existence of such a meeting and pleaded not guilty. Nearly one-third of Republicans and almost two-thirds of independents surveyed find it plausible that Trump falsified business records and engaged in fraud.

Trump has entered a plea of not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records; notably, he has not been specifically indicted for racketeering, which constitutes a distinct offense under New York law.

Voters seem to regard the charges against Trump in the ongoing trials as more severe. Approximately 74% of registered voters surveyed deem allegations of voter fraud to be serious. Trump endeavors to postpone all four trials.

However, a New York state appellate judge rejected his plea to postpone the undisclosed trial. Around 60% of registered voters in the survey express agreement with the assertion that Trump’s criminal trials should proceed before the November 5 election.

Respondents displayed ambivalence towards this claim, with only 27% of registered voters agreeing with Trump’s argument that presidents should be immune unless they have been impeached by Congress.

Many Republicans shared this perspective, with approximately four-fifths of respondents agreeing that the prosecutions were “excessive and politically motivated.” However, around a quarter of Republican respondents in the poll indicated that they would not support Trump if he were convicted of a felony crime by a jury.

About three-quarters of registered voters in the Reuters/Ipsos poll expressed the view that having a president in office with such significant legal obligations would be “risky.” The survey, conducted online from April 4-8, encompassed 1,021 U.S. adults, including 833 registered voters, nationwide.

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The Top Candidates for Trump’s Vice Presidential Nominee Are These



The Top Candidates for Trump's Vice Presidential Nominee Are These

The primary season for the presidency is finished, and now that former President Donald Trump has secured the Republican nomination, inquiries are arising about who is being considered for his vice presidential shortlist.

Back in February, during the ongoing primaries, Trump mentioned to Maria Bartiromo of Fox News that he didn’t plan on revealing his selection anytime soon.

Insiders connected to Trump’s campaign suggested that Trump hold off on announcing his choice until the convention to build anticipation and bolster his sway over the contenders vying for the position.

Reports from CBS News indicate that Trump is contemplating Stefanik as a potential candidate for vice president. When Stefanik was asked if she would accept the role of vice president, she responded on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” saying she would be pleased to serve in any capacity within the Trump administration.

He ended his campaign for the presidency in November and threw his support behind Trump just before the New Hampshire primary, dealing a blow to his fellow South Carolinian and former governor.

Scott stated on “CBS Mornings” that he would never seek a cabinet position from Trump but refused to answer whether he would serve as Trump’s vice president.

Originally hailing from the Republican stronghold of South Dakota, Noem contemplated a presidential bid in 2024 but ultimately opted against it upon Trump’s announcement of his candidacy. “And if President Trump runs, I’ll support him,” Noem told CBS News Major Garrett in 2022.

Noem was among the earliest governors to endorse Trump, declaring her support at a rally last September, and she actively campaigned for him several times in Iowa ahead of the January caucuses.

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, another former candidate for the 2024 presidential race, has also been mentioned by the Trump campaign as a possible vice presidential pick.

Burgum was the initial former 2024 presidential contender to formally endorse Trump, appearing alongside him at a rally in Indianola, Iowa, on January 1, 2024.

“He’s one of the finest governors in our nation, and I’m eager to have him join the administration, playing a crucial role,” Trump remarked about Burgum during the January 14 protest.

Last year, Sanders delivered the Republican rebuttal to President Biden’s State of the Union address. She formally endorsed Trump at a campaign rally in Hialeah, Florida, in November 2023.

Carson, who competed against Trump in the 2016 presidential primary, campaigned for the former president in Iowa prior to the caucuses. Carson is seen as a reliable choice for vice president due to his popularity among conservatives and Christians.

When asked if he and Trump had discussed the possibility of Carson becoming vice president, Carson replied, “I don’t want to talk about private conversations.”

Rubio endorsed Trump the day before the Iowa caucuses in a piece published on March 21. In an interview with Glenn Beck, Rubio stated that he had not communicated with Trump or his campaign regarding a potential vice-presidential candidacy.

“The reason I serve in public office and the motivation behind my candidacy, which involves a six-year commitment upon taking office, is because I’ve always aimed to contribute to the betterment of our country,” Rubio remarked.

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