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Here’s How to Shut Down the Internet: Snip Undersea Fiber-Optic Cables

“Nowadays, there are a lot of countries and companies that have the ability to send vehicles down to the sea floor and have them manipulate, install or take away undersea cables,” said Bryan Clark, a retired naval submariner and former Navy strategist who is a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a Washington think tank

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Firm Boundaries Vital to Good Relations with China

Australia is not unique in that China is conducting a far-reaching campaign to ­influence and shape opinion in the West. As Ross Babbage, a former Office of National Assessments analyst and senior fellow at the Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment in Washington says, we have not seen this type of activity since the Cold War. In dealing with it, while also growing the Australia-China trade relationship, the Turnbull government is treading a fine line in a measured, methodical way.

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When Pushback Comes to Shove in Australia’s China Relationship

“The biggest single problem is that a lot of Australians have not done their homework, they have not done the hard yards to get their head around what the Chinese are doing and what they are saying,” says Ross Babbage, a former analyst with the Office of National Assessments. “A lot of people assume we’re looking at a benign power. We are not.”

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Profumo Affair Offers Lessons Best Heeded by Sam Dastyari

However, Ross Babbage, a former senior intelligence official, told The Australian Financial Review’s Aaron Patrick this week that Dastyari “may have been recruited as an agent of influence”. This means that Beijing looks to him as someone who will help to increase China’s influence in Australia. No more than that — but this is important in itself.

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Security Agencies Flag Chinese Manchurian Candidates

Ross Babbage, a former Office of National Assessments analyst and senior fellow at the Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment in Washington, said Beijing’s security services were conducting a far-reaching campaign to ­influence and shape opinion in the West.

“There is a strategy to recruit and insert and encourage, and to some extent fund, agents of ­influence,’’ Professor Babbage told The Weekend Australian. “We have not seen this type of activity in Australia since the Cold War.’’

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Tax Legislation Generates Concern Over Potential Defense Spending Squeeze

But Kate Blakeley, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said the tax bill has the potential to constrain defense spending in the mid-2020s -- when DOD expects to face massive bills for several major acquisition programs.

"Defense spending would be particularly squeezed when the 'dynamic' effects of the tax changes fail to achieve enough revenue or if the deficit balloons more than expected," she wrote in an email.

"Pressure to extend the individual tax cuts that currently expire in 2025 will also set up a classic guns vs. butter conflict," she continued. "Unfortunately for the Pentagon, the mid-2020s are exactly when the bow wave of acquisition costs will hit, even without the expected growth in procurement spending the Trump administration is expected to request for FY-19 and beyond."