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Security studies and military

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The Boston Globe

A forthcoming study by Prof. Erik Lin-Greenberg finds that the use of drones in the military could lower the risk of escalating an existing conflict, reports Kevin Lewis for The Boston Globe. Lin-Greenberg “presented members of the military with scenarios in which a US reconnaissance aircraft is shot down by a surface-to-air-missile from a hostile country,” writes Lewis. “The military decision-makers generally felt they had to escalate with force when the downed aircraft was manned, whereas that was generally not the case with a drone.”

New York Times

Writing for The New York Times, Steven Simon, a fellow at the MIT Center for International Studies, and Jonathan Stevenson of the International Institute for Strategic Studies explore the Biden administration’s response to Russia’s nuclear threats. “The United States and NATO should be less deferential to Mr. Putin’s attempt to wield the threat of nuclear weapons,” they write, “not only for the sake of supporting Ukraine but also to ensure global geopolitical stability in the future.”

WBUR

WBUR host Peter O’Dowd speaks with MIT senior research associate Jim Walsh about the recent meeting between Russian and Ukrainian delegates. “I think both parties feel like they have to go through the motions, and both are, or at least the Ukrainians are, rightly skeptical,” says Walsh. “The way negotiations work is they work over a long period of time.”

New York Times

New York Times reporter William J. Broad speaks with Prof. R. Scott Kemp about the safety risks associated with the nuclear power plants in northern Ukraine amid the Russian invasion. “There’s some risk of a direct hit,” said Kemp. “But I imagine they’ll do everything possible to avoid that because they don’t want to deal with the fallout.” 

NBC Boston

Carol R. Saivetz, a senior advisor for MIT’s Security Studies Program, speaks with NBC Boston about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “The claims that this was all about NATO expansion are really false,” says Saivetz. “I think it’s much more about Putin’s imperial ambitions and this whole idea that unless he can put back together the Soviet Union that somehow Russia is not a great power.”

The Wall Street Journal

Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Joel Brenner, an instructor at MIT’s Center for International Studies and the former inspector general of the National Security Agency, argues that the fall of Kabul to the Taliban was a counterintelligence failure that should be examined. “The intelligence community needs to take a hard look at the scope and effectiveness of its counterintelligence operations,” writes Brenner. “Like most intelligence failures, this one was probably more the result of a lack of imagination than of operational difficulties.”

The Washington Post

MIT Prof. M. Taylor Fravel and University of Pennsylvania Prof. Fiona Cunningham explores what China’s investment in its nuclear arsenal means for U.S. – China relations in a piece for The Washington Post. “Two shifts in China’s nuclear thinking may be happening. First, Chinese leaders believe that they now need to threaten the United States with greater nuclear damage to deter a U.S. nuclear first-strike: a handful of warheads is no longer enough,” they write. “Second, China’s leaders may be finding Beijing’s promises not to engage in a nuclear arms race increasingly difficult to fulfill — or less of a priority than deterring U.S. nuclear use with more confidence.”

Financial Times

Writing for the Financial Times, research fellow Laura Grego examines why China is developing new nuclear delivery systems and modernizing its weapons arsenal. “One core driver is to make clear to an unconvinced United States that it is vulnerable to Chinese nuclear retaliation despite enormous investments in missile defenses,” writes Grego. “Many of the technologies China is pursuing, including those believed to have been tested this summer, are designed to overwhelm or evade such defenses.” 

Boston Globe

Writing for The Boston Globe, Gregg Martin SM ’88, PhD ’92, a retired two-star Army general and former president of the National Defense University, shares his concern for the mental health of Afghanistan war veterans. “While most troops are justifiably proud of what they did at the tactical, local level, they’re now seeing their efforts go up in smoke,” writes Martin. “They’re angry, sad, hurting, and confused, and I fear that the mental health of some of them will unravel so unrelentingly they’ll take their own lives.”

Good Day LA

Prof. Christopher Capozzola speaks with Bob DeCastro of Good Day LA about the campaign to name a U.S. Navy Warship after Fireman 2nd Class Telesforo Trinidad, the only American national of Asian and Filipino descent to have received a Congressional Medal of Honor. “I think in some ways, there’s no better tribute to the century of work that Filipinos sailors did to keep the ship going than to name one of our ships after one of the most heroic Filipino sailors that we know,” says Capozzola.

The Washington Post

Writing for The Washington Post, Prof. M. Taylor Fravel explores how Chinese and Indian forces have disengaged and created a buffer zone at Pangong Lake on their disputed border. “The disengagement and buffer zone creates space for further talks,” writes Fravel. “In the short term, discussions have already begun to address disengagement in other “friction areas” such as Gorga/Hot Springs. Longer term, political talks about the border may be possible if a complete de-escalation occurs.”

New York Times

A new study co-authored by MIT researchers finds that claims about superweapons are not realistic, reports William J. Broad for The New York Times. “There’re lots of claims and not many numbers,” says research affiliate David Wright. “If you put in the numbers, you find that the claims are nonsense.” 

Here & Now (WBUR)

Senior research associate Jim Walsh speaks with Here & Now’s Peter O’Dowd about national security following the attack on the U.S. Capitol last week.

The Wall Street Journal

MIT researchers have developed a new model that helps quantify a company’s security risk, and estimates possible financial losses, reports Catherine Stupp for The Wall Street Journal. The tool “collects encrypted data from companies about recent incidents and analyzes the anonymized information to determine the probability of different kinds of attacks more broadly,” writes Stupp.

TechCrunch

MIT and the U.S. Air Force “are teaming up to launch a new accelerator focused on artificial intelligence applications,” writes Danny Crichton for TechCrunch. The goal is that projects developed in the MIT-Air Force AI Accelerator would be “addressing challenges that are important to both the Air Force and society more broadly.”