Security news

Japan ‘resolved' to enhance its defence capabilities and deepen alliance with US

By Gabriel Dominguez & Kosuke Takahashi 16 March 2021
Japan announced on 16 March that it is “resolved” to enhance its national defence capabilities and further strengthen its alliance with the United States amid what both countries described as “political, economic, military, and technological challenges” posed by China to both their alliance and the international community.  The announcement was part of a joint statement issued by Washington and Tokyo following the ‘2+2’ US-Japan Security Consultative Committee meeting held that same day between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, US Secret...

Deadly threats persist: deaths from terrorist activity up 20%, says Janes

09 March 2021
2020 full-year terrorism figures from Janes highlight 2,543 more deaths in 2020 from terrorist activity than in 2019 – despite operational activity slowing down.  LONDON (9 March) – Data from the 2020 Global Attack Index by Janes, spanning the entirety of 2020, demonstrates a total of 17,122 non-militant deaths in 2020 resulting from attacks by non-state armed groups (NSAG), a 17.4% increase from 2019.  Despite this, information from the trusted global agency for open-source defence intelligence recorded a 3.7% decrease in attacks – with 13,310...

Oman launches offset project with University of Arizona

By Charles Forrester 05 March 2021
The Omani government has signed an agreement with the University of Arizona’s Eller Executive Education to deliver training to Omani nationals as part of an offset agreement with US armoured vehicle manufacturer Lenco Armored Vehicles.  Under the agreement, Eller Executive Education will work to create a centre at Oman’s Institute of Public Administration (IPA) to train Omani nationals to become leaders in the country’s civil service. Aims for the project include: training 25 Omani instructors to teach future courses at the IPA; training for...

French agency reports exploits by hackers of Centreon software

By Christopher Hawkins 02 March 2021
In a report released on 15 February, France’s information security agency, the National Agency for the Security of Information Systems (Agence nationale de la sécurité des systèmes d'information: ANSSI), revealed that hackers had breached networks...

NATO deploys first focused maritime operation of 2021

By Dr. Lee Willett 01 March 2021
Operation ‘Sea Guardian’ (OSG), NATO’s Mediterranean-based maritime security operation, carried out its first focused operation (FOCOP) for 2021 in the Alboran Sea. The February FOCOPS was led by the Spanish Navy’s Maritime Action Boats (Buques de...

China's geoengineering projects raise climatic concerns

25 February 2021
On 2 December 2020, the State Council of the People’s Republic of China announced an ambitious plan under which China will develop a “weather modification system” by 2025. According to the press release announcing the plan, the “total area of artificial rainfall (snowfall) operation will reach beyond 5.5 million square kilometers, and for hail suppression it should go beyond 580,000 square kilometers”. This announcement was met with scepticism, caution, and concern in the international media, especially around China’s neighbourhood....

Capability-driven approach to push EU technological development

By Brooks Tigner 24 February 2021
The EU is set to expand its support for technological cross-fertilisation between the civil, space, and defence sectors, and will promote its plan with new policies, money, standards, and networking schemes. Pushing a capability-driven approach (CD...

Iran suspends implementation of Additional Protocol, limits inspections of its nuclear programme

By Srishti Punja 23 February 2021
On 23 February Iran suspended the implementation of the Additional Protocol (AP) and all supplementary inspection provisions granted to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) beyond the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA), as mandated b...

Biden likely to seek more nuanced approach to US-Mexican border security

By Peter Chalk 23 February 2021
The administration of US President Joe Biden has inherited a slew of national security priorities resulting from the policies of the previous presidency of Donald Trump. One that lies to the immediate south of the United States is an intensifying cycle of illicit activity across the Mexico-US border that is defined by two mutually reinforcing threats: the northern flow of narcotics to feed American demand for drugs, and the southwards trafficking of weapons that is helping to fuel high levels of violence between competing cartels seeking to e...

Afghanistan sees rise in civilian casualties following start of peace talks, says UN

By Gabriel Dominguez 23 February 2021
The number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan dropped by 15% in 2020 compared to the previous year but the Central Asian country has seen a surge in the number of dead and injured since the start of peace negotiations between Kabul and the Taliban in September 2020, according to a United Nations report.  “The overall number of civilian casualties in 2020 of 8,820 (3,035 killed and 5,785 inured) fell below 10,000 for the first time since 2013. … While the reduced numbers are welcome, documentation shows that the lower levels of overall harm...

India, China complete troop withdrawal from parts of disputed LoAC

By Rahul Bedi 22 February 2021
The Indian and Chinese armies have completed their agreed withdrawal of troops from a bitterly contested area along the disputed Line of Actual Control (LoAC) in the Himalayas where they had been locked in a standoff since May 2020.  “The smooth disengagement of frontline troops in the Pangong Lake area was a significant step forward that provided a good basis for the resolution of other remaining issues along the LoAC,” said the Indian government’s Press Information Bureau (PIB) in a 21 February statement.  Indian soldiers near the Zojila...

French CSG brings ‘plug-and-fight' carrier capability to NATO Mediterranean ASW exercise

By Dr. Lee Willett 22 February 2021
NATO’s Mediterranean-based anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercise ‘Dynamic Manta’ is being bolstered this year by the rare presence of a carrier strike group (CSG).  The French Navy’s carrier strike group led by the aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle (pictured) will join ‘Dynamic Manta’ as it transits the exercise area during a pre-deployment work up. (USN)    Hosted by NATO’s Maritime Command (MARCOM), ‘Dynamic Manta’ is taking place off Sicily between 22 February and 5 March. The French Navy’s   Charles de Gaulle  CSG is...

Role of Russian FSO expands beyond presidential protection

By Mark Galeotti 15 February 2021
The Federal Protection Service (Federalnaya Sluzhba Okhrany: FSO) traces its history back to the Ninth Directorate of the former Soviet Committee for State Security (Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti: KGB). In 1991, it became the Soviet Presidential Security Directorate, then later in 1991 the Main Security Directorate of the Russian Federation, and in 1996, it became the FSO. Despite the numerous name changes, relatively few practical changes to the service have taken place.  The service’s real challenges were initially political, relatin...

US Navy failed to implement measures to halt infectious disease spread before Covid-19

By Michael Fabey 10 February 2021
The US Navy (USN) had plans and drills in place meant to halt or hamper the spread of disease before the onset of Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, but the service had failed to act on them, according to the Pentagon Inspector General (IG) report ‘Evaluat...

US president tasks national security teams to focus on climate change

By Christopher Hawkins 02 February 2021
An executive order signed by US President Joe Biden on 27 January pledged to tackle climate change and framed the issue as a priority for US national security. The executive order included national security-related tasks for the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).  The president ordered the DNI to prepare “a National Intelligence Estimate [NIE] on the national and economic security impacts of climate change” within 120 days of the order being signed. Additionally, Secretary...

Enemy-initiated attacks in Afghanistan continue at high level

By Gabriel Dominguez 01 February 2021
The number of enemy-initiated attacks (EIAs) in Afghanistan continues at a high level, especially in Kabul where US Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) have reported an uptick in targeted assassinations of Afghan government officials, civil-society leader...

Successful counter-cyber operations secure US election

By JD Work 28 January 2021
Efforts by the United States to defend critical infrastructure from foreign cyber threats during the 2020 presidential election focused on preventing disruptive events that could interfere with voter registration and identification, polling, and canvassing. This encompassed efforts to identify and resolve vulnerabilities that could be exploited by an adversary and efforts to establish clear red lines to deter hostile acts through a robust declaratory posture reinforced by multiple officials across the whole of government.  The US Cyber Comman...

EU launches naval co-operative tool to combat Gulf of Guinea's security problems

By Brooks Tigner 26 January 2021
The EU is now operationally testing its concept for Co-ordinated Maritime Presences (CMP): a new co-operative tool for exchanging maritime picture data and analyses among national navies of the EU in designated areas of interest. The CMP pilot proj...

Spanish Eurofighters make first deployment to Romania in support of NATO

By Gareth Jennings 26 January 2021
A detachment of Spanish Air Force (Ejército del Aire Español: EdAE) Eurofighter combat aircraft and support staff arrived at Mihail Koglaniceanu Air Base on 25 January, marking the service’s first operational deployment to Romania in support of NATO.  Spanish Eurofighters arrive at Mihail Koglaniceanu Air Base, Romania, on 25 January. They will fly through to the end of March in support of NATO’s Southern Air Policing mission. NATO Allied Air Command.  Six EdAE Eurofighters and 130 personnel arrived at the base on Romania’s Black Sea coast, f...

China passes law authorising China Coast Guard's use of firepower against foreign vessels

By Gabriel Dominguez 25 January 2021
Amid heightened tensions over maritime and territorial disputes in the South China Sea (SCS) Beijing has passed a law authorising the China Coast Guard’s (CCG’s) use of firepower – under certain circumstances – against foreign vessels in waters “under China’s jurisdiction”.  According to the new ‘Maritime Police Law of the People’s Republic of China’, which was adopted on 22 January by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the CCG is now authorised to take “all necessary measures, including the use of weapons, when nationa...
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