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Artificial Intelligence and Nuclear Weapons

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Earlier this year, the author had an opportunity to participate in a workshop held under the auspices of SIPRI and the Pathfinder Foundation concerning the introduction of machine learning and autonomy in the nuclear forces-related systems. Interaction of new technologies (which include artificial intelligence in the broadest sense of the word) with means for preventing global conflict (as well as ensuring Armageddon if necessary) is one of the most important research areas.

In this article we will focus on Russian approaches. However, we will also make more universal observations. We will emphasize that the concept of Artificial Intelligence in Military Affairs (IIMA) did not just appear yesterday or today. IIMA is an important area of ​​development for the Russian armed forces, including their nuclear component. Such technologies are used or planned for use in order to optimize logistics, improve the efficiency of material and technical services, enhance the capabilities of the Missile Attack Warning System, and increase the sustainability of nuclear weapons control circuits, up to and including direct combat operations. It is difficult to talk about any external restrictions in such conditions, however communication about intentions between the various actors involved in introducing IIMA will make it possible to specify the goals and objectives of such processes and reduce the likelihood of unintended escalation.

When considering IIMA, it is extremely important to distinguish between the use of AI as a tool to support decision-making and the implementation of these decisions at the command level and AI as a direct onboard system for guiding weapons.

Basic definitions

First, let us have a look at official terminology. The Encyclopaedia of the Strategic Missile Forces, which is available in Russian online, provides the following definition of IIMA: “The field of research in which models, systems, and devices imitate human intellectual activity (perception and logical conclusion) in military affairs.”

The three main areas of research:

1. Knowledge-based systems

2. Neurosystems

3. Heuristic search systems.

According to the definition, the specific IIMA-related areas for the Strategic Missile Forces are:

  • Decision support systems
  • Intelligent systems and weapons (primarily missile guidance systems)
  • Expert systems (ES).

In this context, ES refer to a set of software tools that implement knowledge-based AI methods. ES allow to accumulate knowledge from the subject area as part of a specific knowledge model and use this knowledge to introduce new knowledge, solve practical intelligence-related problems, and explain the method of their solution.

To some extent, the definition given above is limited and refers more to so-called “Narrow Artificial Intelligence.”

However, the existence of the very specific definition for IIMA in Russian military lexicon perfectly confirms the attention that is paid to this theme as well as the main focuses of work to “intellectualize” the approaches used to address problems facing the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.

It is worth noting that neural networks, intelligent data processing systems, and the development of artificial intelligence are among the priority focuses of the newly created ERA Military Innovation Technopolis.

Smart logistics

In recent years, public information has emerged in specific studies involving the use of AI in logistics.

For example, a model of an automated logistics management system (including in wartime) was proposed[1] in 2015 for mobile group units of the Strategic Missile Forces armed with ICBMs on mobile ground-based missile systems (MGMS). According to estimates, introducing such an automated control system could improve the quality of control and the stability of communications (including when an opposing force uses electronic warfare devices), and also significantly reduce the amount of information transmitted.

In 2018, information was published [2] about the development and testing of a neural network-based model as a solution for projecting the residual operating time of the components of the Strategic Missile Forces’ missile systems. The model was built with an emphasis placed on determining the significance and calculating the weight of diagnostic features with the aim of subsequent usage for various models of the weapons and military equipment of the Strategic Missile Forces.

The viability of the model was confirmed in a full-scale experiment, albeit on purely civilian equipment (air conditioning). Given the significant amount of time-honored legacy equipment and weapons still in use by the Strategic Missile Forces as well as the repeated extension of the service life of the missile systems, such solutions should be very effective in maintaining combat readiness and optimize costs.

Warning, orders and launches

The Early Warning System and the related components of the state’s military organization are another important focus area for the autonomous analysis and preparation of solutions. Threat assessment and damage prediction are the main objectives for AI technologies in this case. This can help to understand the scale of the attack, its source, and possible intentions as well as quickly develop an adequate response scenario.

The command of the nuclear forces takes on key importance as it transitions to retaliatory action. Machine learning and the corresponding technologies will perform decision-making support functions, including as regards organizing maneuvering to pull out forces and resources from enemy attacks, as well as optimize retaliation planning. Updating information in real time, merging data from various sources, and other modern solutions help to improve the quality of combat control.

The autonomous issuance and execution of orders to launch nuclear missiles as part of the so-called Perimeter / Dead Hand system seems to be a theoretical possibility, and a human always remains part of the decision-making chain. Perhaps it would be more correct to view this system in combination with “signal rockets” as another circuit of the Strategic Nuclear Forces command and control. However, fully automating the retaliatory nuclear strike is technologically feasible, so the pre-delegation of authority to “machines” may well return to the agenda in the event of a rapid deterioration in strategic stability.

Thus, elements of AI are already being used in terms of supporting management decisions concerning strategic nuclear forces. However, there is also the threat of the “human” analysis of a military situation being replaced entirely in the sense of officers forming their views and assessments solely on the basis of a machine’s conclusions. Sure, humans will remain in the cycle of assessing the situation, making decisions, and using weapons, but they may rely solely on “machine” data. Such a scenario seems to be much more threatening, including for all areas in which human activities remain. Also, in this context, it is also essential to mention the qualitative growth in the implications of a hostile external impact on information systems that ensure that source data is conveyed to automated decision-making support tools as well as the systems that directly prepare these decisions.

War of the machines

When talking about autonomous weapons systems in the narrow sense, military operations using nuclear weapons must be considered.

Right now, targeting is the most promising area for the use of machine learning, computer vision, and related technologies. Automated image processing makes it possible to quickly and efficiently recognize the types of targets and their exact location and vulnerable components as well as optimize the distribution of warheads.

Airborne guidance systems using AI can provide higher accuracy and unpredictable maneuverability. In particular, external guidance for hypersonic gliders (e.g., the Avangard missile system with a glide vehicle) during the flight is an extremely difficult task. Consequently, intelligent airborne guidance systems need a solution. Other areas include missile defense (MD) penetration aids as a whole, including “smart” decoys and the ability to make random trajectory adjustments.

Underwater tactical operations are also one of the areas where autonomy is an important breakthrough technology. In particular, oceanic multipurpose systems (Poseidon unmanned underwater drones (formerly known as Status-6)) can be used not only as a means to deliver megaton-class nuclear warheads but also as a tool for improving situational awareness or high-precision mine laying. In each of these scenarios, AI appears to be not only very useful but also very dangerous in the event they get out of control or multiple unmanned drones clash with “potential adversaries”.

Generally speaking, the special aspects of the interaction between autonomous combat systems “under different flags,” regardless of the relations existing between these “flags” and the environment in which such interaction takes place, are some of the most important areas and deserve close attention from the world community. Moreover, no “rule-based order” will be sufficient in this area –good old international law is required, for example, in the form of additions to the relevant international conventions and bilateral incident prevention agreements.

Consequences of intelligent progress

Russian nuclear weapons are not intended for limited use, so the consequences of their use may very well be apocalyptic.

Machine learning, autonomy, and AI in a broad sense contribute to the survival, accuracy, and surmounting of missile defense systems, which makes them a promising focus for ​​military development. It seems that the enhancement of the corresponding features will help strengthen strategic stability, which, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs believes, is based on the ability to strike at the enemy and assure retaliation.

However, technological progress, particularly in military affairs, is traditionally accompanied by the emergence of new threats, and also fuels security dilemmas in relations between various actors. The new capabilities of a potential adversary are always assessed both as a potential threat and as something that can be reproduced to resolve one’s own problems.

Regional and global partners, as well as potential adversaries, need regular assessments of Russia’s nuclear potential. They may make mistakes that affect the perception of the threat. In order to avoid such mistakes with far-reaching consequences, the modernization of nuclear forces and nuclear doctrines should be a constant topic of bilateral and multilateral discussions and consultations.

As a component of missile guidance, interceptor missiles, and other systems as well as a means of supporting decision-making, IIMA is a reality of the current times. This is one of the main focuses of scientific and technological progress in general. Thus, the endless battle of “shield and sword” is becoming more intelligent and automated.

First published in our partner RIAC

[1] “Model for the automated material support control system for military units and formations of the Strategic Missile Forces amidst the development of the material and technical support system of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation”, A.V. Isayev, V.I. Filatov, V.N. Fyodorov, and A.V. Grevtsov, “Science and Military Security” 3 (3) 2015, p. 59 (In Russian).

[2] “Model for determining the significance and calculating the weight coefficients of diagnostic features for predicting the residual life of a complex technical system with uneven resource development”, O.V. Gaivoronsky, D.N. Kartunin, and I.A. Voytsekhovsky, XLII Academic Readings on Astronautics, abstracts collection (2018), p. 262 (In Russian).

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Indian Chronicle: Exposing the Indian Hybrid warfare against Pakistan

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In recent years Indian hybrid warfare against Pakistan has intensified manifold to malign Pakistan Internationally through disinformation and propaganda tactics. Hybrid warfare has mainly been described as achieving war-like objectives with the help of fake news, disinformation, and propaganda. The Objectives of Hybrid warfare are mostly to secure long term victory against the opponent. Similarly, India has launched massive hybrid warfare against Pakistan, which was uncovered by EU DisinfoLab in its report called “Indian Chronicle”.

EU DisinfoLab is an independent organization working to expose and tackle disinformation campaigns targeting the European Union and its member states. The organization has claimed that the disinformation campaign against Pakistan has been active since 2005, “a massive online and offline 15-year ongoing influence operation supporting Indian interests and discrediting Pakistan internationally”.

In a recent investigation EU DisinfoLab has exposed a malicious Indian campaign against Pakistan. In the report, “Indian Chronicle” EU DisinfoLab has exposed the dubious use of media outlets, NGOs, and fake personnel by India to malign Pakistan. The disinformation campaign mainly targeted the United Nations and the European Union through more than 750 fake media outlets and 10 fake NGOs. According to the report, “uncovered an entire network of coordinated UN-accredited NGOs promoting Indian interests and criticizing Pakistan repeatedly. We could tie at least 10 of them directly to the Srivastava family, with several other dubious NGOs pushing the same messages.”

According to the report the disinformation campaign is supported by the Srivastava group. The Srivastava group has helped in “resurrected dead NGOs” to spread fake news. The report says that “Our investigation led to the finding of 10 UN-accredited NGOs directly controlled by the Srivastava Group, which our full report introduces at length. Their common trait? The fact that they all rose from the ashes of real NGOs. Indian Chronicles effectively benefited from the track record of these organizations while pursuing their agenda: discrediting Pakistan and promoting Indian interests at UN conferences and hearings,”.

Moreover, Asian News International (ANI), a major news agency in India has provided a platform for suck fake news campaigns. The aim of the Srivastava group and ANI media outlet is “to reinforce pro-Indian and anti-Pakistan (and anti-Chinese) feelings” in India, and “internationally, to consolidate the power and improve the perception of India, to damage the reputation of other countries and ultimately benefit from more support from international institutions such as the EU and the UN”.

The report claim that the organizations funded by the Srivastava group-sponsored trips for European Parliament members to Kashmir. “The organizations created by the Srivastava Group in Brussels organized trips for Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to Kashmir, Bangladesh, and the Maldives. Some of these trips led to much institutional controversy, as the delegations of MEPs were often presented as official EU delegations when they were in fact not traveling on behalf of the Parliament,”. Such sponsored trips aimed to build a positive image of India, while spreading disinformation about the alleged claims of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir.

Moreover, India has been actively involved in portraying Pakistan as a terrorist-sponsored state through its disinformation and fake news technique. For instance, India is lobbying strongly at FATF to put Pakistan on the blacklist.

India has also supported and sponsored Baloch separatist leaders and spread disinformation through their fake media outlets as mentioned in the EU DisinfoLab report.“These UN-accredited NGOs work in coordination with non-accredited think-tanks and minority-rights NGOs in Brussels and Geneva. Several of them – like the European Organization for Pakistani Minorities (EOPM), Baluchistan House, and the South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF) – were directly but opaquely created by the Srivastava group,”one of the examples is Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian spy who was captured in Pakistan.

The Indian Chronicle report has exposed the dubious face of India and the administrative structure of the United Nations and the European Union. Indian involvement in the spread of disinformation and resurrection of dead people and NGOs has exposed its long-standing for Human rights and democracy. Meanwhile, the reports have also exposed the administrative structure of the UN and EU, as they failed to notice the activities of fake UN-accredited NGOs and spread of disinformation through their affiliated NGOs.

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Hybrid Warfare: Threats to Pakistani Security

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‘Victory smiles upon those who anticipate the changes in the character of war’-Giulio Douhet

Hybrid threats are becoming a norm in Pakistan and if we want to move forward in this age of technological advancements, cybercrimes, and the use of social media, we must have a wholesome response mechanism.

Hybrid warfare is a military strategy that employs not only conventional forms of warfare but irregular with it as well. It involves propaganda, cyber-attacks, state-sponsored terrorism, electoral intervention, and many more means of multi-dimensional approaches towards war which are used by militarized non-state actors. The term ‘Hybrid’ came into use around 2005-2006 due to the Israel-Hezbollah war (“Lessons from Lebanon: Hezbollah and Hybrid Wars – Foreign Policy Research Institute” 2016) and became a hot-topic in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea. Using non-confrontational means can lead to internal struggles and crumbling of the target. What direct force won’t get you can be easily achieved by infiltration and multi-faceted resources. It’s neither character of war nor its outcome that defines it as a hybrid war, but the changing tactics (“State and Non-State Hybrid Warfare” 2018). In a world where everyone, from wealthy states to those caught in throes of hunger, is armed to the teeth, there are ways to achieve socio-political objectives through the use of violent and non-violent non-state actors.

Pakistan – A Target

Pakistan has risen to incredible heights despite it being a relatively young nation and this is only proved further by the interest international players have in its internal workings. Several factors contribute to the important stature Pakistan holds in the international community such as the Pak-China alliance, its geostrategic location, military aptitude, Russian interests in the Indian Ocean, Deep Sea Gwadar Port (One Belt One Road Project), neighbor to Afghanistan (a country existing as a battleground for proxies), etc. All these reasons make sure to keep Pakistan on the radar.

Though it may be secure militarily, Pakistan is still vulnerable to hybrid threats due to internal dynamics, numerous conflicting interests of nations in state-affairs, and increasing non-state actors. South Asian nuclearization has all but guaranteed that a full-fledged war between Pakistan and India is unlikely therefore the latter uses hybrid warfare to weaken Pakistan from within.

Evolutionary Nature of War

There was truth to Heraclites’s words when he claimed that change is the only constant in our world. The social theory of evolutionary change tells us that individuals, communities, societies, and states are always in a state of motion, continuously evolving according to the era. War is born from man, it is only fair that if a man changes, so shall war. It has become more complex; the stakes have raised from territorial boundaries to the maintenance of world order and preservation of state sovereignty. Wars are no longer fought on the borders, skirmishes aside, the real destruction takes place within. Due to the paradigm shift after the Cold War (Ball 2018), there rose a need for legal, economical, socio-political, and informational means of warfare. It is used as a way to undermine other nation-states in pursuit of national power; the international system is not only a race but also a way to tear others down.

Threats to Pakistani Security

To secure Pakistan from all sides, we must first analyze the threats it faces from all sides. Conventional Warfare used to be seen as one dimensional and it only perceived assault to be done through the land, air, or sea channels. However, now it is fought in various intangible zones.

·         External

India

India is a budding regional hegemon due to its political and economic growth including hidden agendas. Pakistan is perceived to be a direct threat to India especially after the launch of the CPEC project, perceived to be undermining its hold over the region, which is why it is employing stratagems of hybrid warfare to internally weaken Pakistan. Till now India has used State-Sponsored terrorism, funded insurgencies, operated terror cells, and even sent fighter jets into Pakistani Airspace as an attempt to ruin its reputation in the international community.

Afghanistan

There has been growing instability in Afghanistan which has led to mass migrations across the porous border into Pakistan, with around 1.4 million registered Afghans (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 2018) and 1 million unregistered (“Amnesty International” 2019). India has its claws in Afghan matters as well and will use it to exploit Pakistan’s weaknesses even after US forces leave the arena. Afghan Government’s poor administrative capability especially after the return of DAESH (Tribune 2020) and Tehrik-e-Taliban Afghanistan are threats to Pakistan as well as regional peace and are a major cause of lawlessness in the country and has a spillover effect for its neighbors.

Iran

Ideologically speaking, Iran is a sectarian threat to Pakistan and its Port Chahbahar stands to lose active traffic once CPEC is fully functional which means it stands as an instigator of hybrid warfare and it would be a risk to overlook it based on past good relations.

USA

Even after the Cold War, strategic rivalry and animosity between the powers including Russia, America, and China still exist. The emergence of China as an economic superpower is perceived as a threat to the US due to which there is a major shift in its defensive posture towards the region.

The US has shown significant interest in Pakistan due to its geo-strategic location but not all interest has yielded positive results. They carried out a surgical strike for the capture and assassination of Osama-Bin-Laden. Such a breach of sovereignty and security is a hybrid threat.

·         Internal

Sectarian

There are several lobbies in Pakistan all vying for their own cause. The Iranian lobby has sectarian undercurrents. Sectarianism has always been one of the leading factors of the divide in the Muslim civilization and is the rising trend of terrorism.Such conflict itself is volatile and is deepening the rift between different sects(Shia-Sunni) of Pakistan, causing unrest.

Economic

Rising prices of commodities such as flour and sugar can lead to social unrest and discord. Such industries and their stocks are under the thumb of a select few, the elites. With the right bribes and conditions, even they would agree to sell out society.

Non-State Actors

Non-state actors are groups or organizations that have influence in the state but work independently and have their socio-political agendas (“Towards a Typology of Non-State Actors in ‘Hybrid Warfare’: Proxy, Auxiliary, Surrogate and Affiliated Forces” 2019). They work on political opportunities and mobilized grievances. Groups like BLA (Balochistan Liberation Army), TTP (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan), and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) are some of the major actors. Pakistan needs to focus on curbing Jihadist Terrorism as it is keeping it from leaving the grey list of FATF.

·         Technological

Information

It refers to the spread of miscommunication. Propaganda and circulation of false news through social media are a relatively common way to cause turmoil in a community. Once a rumor is circling, there is no way to erase it. India claims that Pakistan is spreading the false narrative of ‘Islam being in danger’ to justify its actions, although untrue, is something that the Indians fully believe now. That Pakistani Intelligentsia is made solely to create narratives under which to attack India. Such beliefs further antagonize the states against each other.

Indian Chronicles are a prime example of information warfare being waged against Pakistan.

Cyber

Channels such as Cyber-Jihad and Dark Web come under the purview of cyber warfare and are a threat to the fabric of society and its security in Pakistan.

Given the above discussed bleak prevailing internal security situation, Pakistan needs to formulate a short to mid and long-term response that curbs all external and internal parties alongside proxies from infiltrating and influencing the working of the state and affecting the masses.

For a full-spectrum approach, all domains should be covered such as diplomacy, defense, internal and external security, economic, informational, cyber, and media security.

There are steps to be followed through for active and effective quelling of hybrid threats. First, a strategy must be put for, then tactical action should be taken and lastly, the implementation process should be supervised and fully followed through.

The main focus of the state should be on deterrence towards, protection from, and prevention of hybrid threats to the state.

One must not forget that Hybrid war is a mix of both unconventional and conventional warfare, therefore a nation-wide response should include the intertwined operational capabilities of armed forces alongside political actors. Pakistan sees its security being threatened both by internal factors and external hostile/proxy elements. This is hampering state development. State-building and nation-building must go hand in hand if counter and deter such threats effectively.

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The Impact of Management in Information Security

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Authors: Sajad Abedi and Mahdi Mohammadi

Due to the increasing role of information security in the management of any society, public and private organizations and institutions are inevitably required to provide the necessary infrastructure to achieve this. In addition to material resources, management techniques also have a great impact on the optimal and successful implementation of information security management systems. The recording of management standards in the field of ICT information security can be designed in a planned way to change the security situation of organizations according to the needs of the organization and ensure security in terms of business continuity and to some extent at other levels (crisis management and soft war). Despite extensive research in this area, unfortunately for various reasons, including the level of security of the issue for governmental and non-governmental institutions or the direct relationship of the field with their interests, clear and useful information on how to implement and prioritize the implementation of a system over the years. The past has not happened until today.

The protection of the organization’s information resources is essential to ensure the successful continuation of business activities. The fact that information and information assets play a key role in the success of organizations has necessitated a new approach to protecting them. Until now, risk analysis and management has been used to identify the information security needs of the organization. After analyzing the risks, security controls were identified and implemented to bring the risks to an acceptable level. But it seems that risk analysis is not enough to identify the information security needs of the organization. Evidence of this claim is that risk analysis does not take into account legal requirements, regulations and other factors that are not considered as risk, but are mandatory for the organization.

Identifying, assessing and managing information security risks is one of the key steps in reducing cyber threats to organizations and also preventing the unfortunate consequences of security incidents that make organizations more prepared to face cyber risks. The risk assessment process, which is the first phase of a set of risk management activities, provides significant assistance to organizations in making the right decision to select security solutions. Risk assessment is actually done to answer the following questions: * If a particular hazard occurs in the organization, how much damage will it cause? * What is the probability of any risk occurring? * Controlling how much each risk costs. Is it affordable or not? The results of risk assessment can help in the correct orientation in choosing solutions (which is to eliminate the main threats) and can also be used in formulating and modifying the security policies of the organization. Risk management is a comprehensive process used to determine, identify, control, and minimize the effects and consequences of potential events. This process allows managers to strike the right balance between operating costs and financial costs, and to achieve relevant benefits by protecting business processes that support the organization’s goals. The risk management process can greatly reduce the number and severity of security incidents that occur in the organization. Risk management has 5 steps, which are: 1. Planning: At this stage, how to manage potential risks in the organization is determined and completed by developing a risk management plan. This plan defines the risk management team, defines the roles and responsibilities of individuals and the criteria for assessing identified risks. Documented. 2. Identification: At this stage, team members gather around each other, identify potential hazards, and record them in the organization’s risk list. Arranging group brainstorming sessions is a good way to identify hazards 3. Assessment: In this step, the assessment of identified risks is performed using the criteria defined in the risk management plan. Risks are assessed based on their probability of occurrence and possible consequences.

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