October 16, 2023
In Recognition of World Food Day, Cambridge Discusses The War Against Ukraine’s Impact on Food Scarcity
The war in Ukraine clearly has far-reaching implications for that country itself—but also for the world, our global food supply, and the future of warfighting and national defense. From human suffering and economic instability to geopolitical tensions and asymmetric tactics, this crisis has highlighted the value of human ingenuity, technology, and Partner Nation (PN) security cooperation to ensure global stability and support livelihood.
New Phases in the War Against Ukraine
The toll on Ukrainian citizens has been palpable. At least five million Ukrainians are internally displaced and over six million Ukrainian refugees have been recorded worldwide. Untold thousands have died. The country’s infrastructure is demolished—a March 2023 assessment estimated the price of reconstruction in Ukraine to be $411 billion and growing by roughly $10 billion each month. That amount includes $14 billion for critical recovery in 2023 while the war is still ongoing—essentially starting the recovery before the setbacks have ended. This endeavor will take both immediate and long-term international support and investment.
Ukraine’s economy has also been devastated by the cost of military operations, the disruption to industry, and the decline in foreign investment, tourism, and trade. And Ukraine’s trade woes have international humanitarian implications. When Russia withdrew from The Black Sea Grain Initiative (the agreement to allow Ukraine to resume grain exports through its southern ports), global food insecurity became acute. Ukraine is a major supplier of wheat, barley, and sunflower products to developing countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as well as to Europe and China. Moreover, The Black Sea Grain Initiative would have supplied Ukrainian grain to the United Nation’s World Food Programme, the leading humanitarian organization fighting hunger.
Ukraine and its allies are mitigating the risk to the world’s food supply with improvised alternate land and water routes for Ukrainian grain exports. Romania and Moldova have already offered options alongside allied efforts to increase Ukraine’s export capacity via the Danube River. Indeed, the Southeastern wall of the European Union (EU) formed by Bulgaria, Greece, Moldova, and Romania, could potentially provide multiple diverse grain corridors—new overland routes and additional ports that could undo the stranglehold Russia has on Ukraine and the global grain market. Developing these routes will require the engagement and cooperation of the U.S. and multiple allies to ensure the necessary interoperability, domain awareness, and cybersecurity among the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) partners. Border security and surveillance as well as sensor and communications solutions will also be essential to these efforts.
Meanwhile, Russia, relying on its larger, well-funded and well-equipped military, has launched missile strikes on Ukraine’s ports and export infrastructure, destroying more than 60,000 tons of grain. But Ukraine has been striking back, resourcefully integrating somewhat modest technologies into effective drone weapon systems to disrupt Russian supply lines and shipping lanes. The small, low-cost drones have allowed Ukraine to damage Russian warships and undermine the very idea of Russia’s supremacy in the Black Sea. This new phase of the conflict, this practical live demonstration of unmanned/uncrewed technology, is redefining warfighting and underlining the necessity for PNs to have hardened systems and persistent maritime domain awareness (MDA) supported by advanced monitoring and surveillance equipment. So much of what the U.S. is committed to protect is at stake—regional and global security, the stability of the world’s food supply, a PN’s sovereignty, and the sanctity of borders. Historically, the U.S. has worked collectively with our allies to sustain the sanctity of these domains.
Cambridge Core Solutions: Security and Surveillance | Survivability and Resilience
Cambridge International Systems, Inc. (Cambridge) has been supporting U.S. and PN security interests in over 60 countries for nearly 3 decades. We enhance situational awareness and enable far-reaching detection, identification, evaluation, and engagement to nations of all sizes and capability. Our experience includes delivering land-based and maritime border security and surveillance solutions in Europe including Greece, Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, and other locations. Our fixed and mobile Maritime Surveillance Systems (MSS) empower PNs to surveil their coastlines and the surrounding seas.
We are also survivability and resilience experts, making sure systems perform despite adverse conditions. We help our customers overcome geo-political threats, criminal forces, and environmental challenges with electronic hardening and by increasing system availability, reliability, strength, and safety. We have delivered mobile Command and Control (C2) systems to PNs recovering from hurricanes and earthquakes; provided Electronic Security Systems (ESS) for critical infrastructure across the United States and around the world; and enhanced the cybersecurity on PN projects as well as for NASA’s human spaceflight activities. Cambridge understands that connectivity and interoperability are essential. Without this, there can be no collective efforts toward shared goals.
Enhancing the Technology Capabilities of Partner Nations
The U.S. is the high-tech frontrunner in unmanned systems; reconnaissance and surveillance; and survivability and resilience. Our military has historically invested heavily in research and development to maintain the edge that is essential to our national security and to our contributions building PN capacity. As the Department of Defense (DoD) Chief Technology Officer (CTO) said: “We must leverage critical emerging technologies… and emphasize developing asymmetric capabilities.” These words take on more weight as the battlefield in Ukraine evolves in real-time before us, and we witness exactly what the DoD CTO called for: innovation combined with unconventional warfare. Citizens of Ukraine are fighting back with every tool and tactic at their disposal, transforming combat in a way that we will surely be analyzing for decades to come. Similarly, future security cooperation requirements in Europe will also likely be unprecedented as the region rebuilds and heightens the technology and capacities of impacted PNs to meet the challenges of a humanitarian tragedy and an ongoing, irregular war. Collaboration with our allies and PNs that is actualized through domain awareness, information sharing, and joint cyber security commitments is the sine qua non for future global stabilization and keeping the global population fed.