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  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Violence in the Niger Delta may soon increase unless the Nigerian government acts quickly and decisively to address long-simmering grievances. With the costly Presidential Amnesty Program for ex-insurgents due to end in a few months, there are increasingly bitter complaints in the region that chronic poverty and catastrophic oil pollution, which fuelled the earlier rebellion, remain largely unaddressed. Since Goodluck Jonathan, the first president from the Delta, lost re-election in March, some activists have resumed agitation for greater resource control and self-determination, and a number of ex-militant leaders are threatening to resume fighting (“return to the creeks”). While the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East is the paramount security challenge, President Muhammadu Buhari rightly identifies the Delta as a priority. He needs to act firmly but carefully to wind down the amnesty program gradually, revamp development and environmental programs, facilitate passage of the long-stalled Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and improve security and rule of law across the region.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Development, Environment, Oil, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Stefan Lehne
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: After years at the margins of international diplomacy, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has suddenly regained political relevance because of the Ukraine crisis that began in 2014. The organization turned out to be the most appropriate framework to manage the crisis and prevent further escalation. To continue to play a useful role in resolving this issue and in easing tensions between Russia and the West, the OSCE needs to adjust its way of working and strengthen its toolbox. As the relationship between Russia and the West deteriorated at the end of the 1990s, the OSCE’s role declined. The organization’s arms control regime eroded, its debates on human rights relapsed into ideological confrontation, and its work on promoting economic cooperation never got off the ground. The Ukraine crisis has revived the organization. While political crisis management has been left mainly to a few capitals working with the parties to the conflict, the OSCE’s monitoring mission in Ukraine has become an essential factor of stability. Violence has not stopped, however, and the mission’s work remains hampered by insufficient cooperation from the parties. The OSCE has also assumed an important role in facilitating negotiations on implementing the Minsk agreement, which contains a road map for a political settlement. However, little progress has been made so far. diplo
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Diplomacy, Human Rights, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Jan Techau
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) pledged in 2014 to increase their defense spending to 2 percent of their gross domestic products by 2024. It is unrealistic to assume that this goal will ever be reached by all 28 allies, and yet the 2 percent metric persists—and it has assumed a significance beyond its face value. It is about addressing Europe’s growing security vacuum and defining who will be in charge of European security.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Economics, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Nathan Brown, Michele Dunne
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest opposition movement and one of its oldest, is squeezed between an unprecedented crackdown from the security state and a young generation pushing for more assertive action against the regime of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. As a movement that has long espoused evolutionary change morphs into one that advocates revolutionary change—and struggles with whether that means adopting a strategy of violence against the state—the implications for Egypt and the entire region are massive.
  • Topic: Security, Islam, Armed Struggle, Insurgency, Political Activism
  • Political Geography: Arab Countries, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Iana Dreyer, Jose Luengo-Cabrera
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: This Report, the outcome of an EUISS Task Force on sanctions, offers valuable insight into a practice that is now part and parcel of the Union's ‘security’ policy toolbox. It aims to shed more light on an EU policy area that is still under-researched at a time when sanctions are becoming more important in terms of their number, scale and political salience.
  • Topic: Security, Sanctions, European Union
  • Author: Haidi Willmot, Scott Sheeran, Lisa Sharland
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Since the tragic bombing of the UN headquarters in Iraq in 2003, a concerted effort has been made to improve and strengthen security arrangements across the UN system. However, too often, security issues are perceived as primarily technical matters that are not prioritized as strategically and politically important. This report takes stock of the strategic impact of safety and security for effective peace operations by outlining the evolving, increasingly hostile security context into which operations are being deployed and its implications for personnel. The authors assess existing UN management structures, policies, and processes to identify potential areas of reform. As they examine the diverse range of challenges and considerations for improving security of UN peace operations, they argue that effective security is about protecting UN personnel while enabling, not limiting, operational activity.
  • Topic: Security, United Nations, Peacekeeping, Reform
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Richard Sokolsky, Frederic M. Wehrey
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: For over three decades, the question of who controls the Persian Gulf has formed the basis for America’s massive military buildup in the region. At the heart of the region’s security dilemma is a clash of visions: Iran seeks the departure of U.S. forces so it can exert what it sees as its rightful authority over the region, while the Gulf Arab states want the United States to balance Iranian power. Resolving this impasse will not be easy. But the Iranian nuclear agreement presents an opportunity to take a first step toward creating a new security order in the Gulf, one that could improve relations between Iran and the Gulf Arab states and facilitate a lessening of the U.S. military commitment. Read more at: http://carnegieendowment.org/2015/10/14/imagining-new-security-order-in-persian-gulf/ij3p
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Treaties and Agreements, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: United States, Persian Gulf
  • Author: Franklin Kramer, Hans Binnendijk, Daniel Hamilton
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The new threat landscape the transatlantic community faces means that NATO must adapt its strategy to remain relevant. While many transatlantic policymakers and thought leaders have called for a new strategy for NATO, few have outlined what that strategy should actually entail. This report proposes that NATO adopt a new strategy called "Stability Generation," built on the concept of ensuring stability in the NATO region and reducing the threat of significant conflicts in NATO's neighborhood. To accomplish this, NATO must add resilience as a core task to its existing tasks of collective defense, crisis management, and cooperative security. NATO must also enhance capabilities in the East against conventional and hybrid conflicts, in the South against instability arising from conflicts and extremism in neighboring countries, and across the Alliance to decrease vulnerabilities and enhance resilience, particularly with respect to cybersecurity.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Defense Policy, NATO
  • Political Geography: North Atlantic
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Algeria today faces a triple crisis. The collapse in global oil prices during 2014 and 2015 has meant that its economic future is potentially extremely sombre. In political terms, the regime faces a complex and uncertain transition as the Bouteflika era comes to an end. Moreover, Algeria’s security environment is threatening, given the chaos in Libya, the emergence of extremism in Tunisia and the ongoing violence in northern Mali because of the extremist groups located there. This situation is further complicated by the persistence of “residual terrorism,” as the government terms it, inside Algeria itself and the chronic crisis with Morocco over the latter’s annexation of the Western Sahara in 1975. This paper analyses each of these factors in turn before seeking to outline short- to medium-term scenarios for the future.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Islam, Oil, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: North Africa
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-62-0
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Maria Giulia Amadio Viceré
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Under certain conditions, such as security crises, an integrated external EU counter-terrorism policy can emerge without leading to the supra-nationalisation of policy-making. This paper analyses the role of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy with the objective of assessing the influence that such figure can have on the governance of EU counter-terrorism policies. It does so by assessing the EU’s response to three security crises, namely: the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent bombings in Madrid (2004) and London (2005); the Arab Spring and the following destabilisation of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA); and the emergence and spread of Da’esh.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-53-8
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Jacqueline Lopour
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This paper introduces Central Asia’s geopolitical significance and explores several inter-related security challenges. For each security issue, this paper provides a brief overview of the issue, explains why or how it developed and looks at the issue’s significance within the broader security environment. The paper then turns to Canada’s role in Central Asia and addresses opportunities to expand engagement in the security realm.
  • Topic: Security, International Security, Bilateral Relations, Governance, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Canada
  • Author: Linda Jakobson, Rory Medcalf
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Regional security is being adversely affected by a worsening perception gap between China and other regional powers in the Indo-Pacific. What China sees as the legitimate defence of its interests others in the region see as assertive behaviour. There are some real differences in interests between China and other regional players in the Indo-Pacific, but tensions can also be moderated by efforts to address the perception gap.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation
  • Political Geography: China, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Phillip Carter, Katherine Kidder
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: Military, Veterans, and Society Program Director Phillip Carter and Research Associate Katherine Kidder examine the growth of military compensation in the post-Cold War era, from 1990 to 2015, as well as the social contract America has with its All-Volunteer Force, and the ways in which monetary compensation should be considered as part of a broader talent management strategy for the armed forces. The policy brief presents an opportunity for the nation to assess its social contract with the All-Volunteer Force and adjust (if necessary) to meet the national interest and sustain its most critical national security asset.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Labor Issues, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: On the occasion of the April 2015 Global Conference on Cyberspace meeting in The Hague, the Global Commission on Internet Governance calls on the global community to build a new social compact between citizens and their elected representatives, the judiciary, law enforcement and intelligence agencies, business, civil society and the Internet technical community, with the goal of restoring trust and enhancing confidence in the Internet. It is now essential that governments, collaborating with all other stakeholders, take steps to build confidence that the right to privacy of all people is respected on the Internet. This statement provides the Commission’s view of the issues at stake and describes in greater detail the core elements that are essential to achieving a social compact for digital privacy and security.
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Communications, Mass Media, Governance, Digital Economy, Internet
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Henry D. Sokolski
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: With the world focused on the nuclear crisis in Iran, it is tempting to think that addressing this case, North Korea, and the problem of nuclear terrorism is all that matters and is what matters most. Perhaps, but if states become more willing to use their nuclear weapons to achieve military advantage, the problem of proliferation will become much more unwieldy. In this case, U.S. security will be hostage not just to North Korea, Iran, or terrorists, but to nuclear proliferation more generally, diplomatic miscalculations, and wars between a much larger number of possible players. This, in a nutshell, is the premise of Underestimated: Our Not So Peaceful Nuclear Future, which explores what nuclear futures we may face over the next 3 decades and how we currently think about this future. Will nuclear weapons spread in the next 20 years to more nations than just North Korea and possibly Iran? How great will the consequences be? What can be done?
  • Topic: Security, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism, International Security, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iran, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Dr. Ariel Cohen, Ivan Benovic
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, a number of gas disputes between Russia and Central and Eastern European countries have unveiled the strategic dependence of Europe on Russian piped gas. The recent Ukrainian crisis demonstrated that Europe has a desperate need to improve the security of its gas supply. The United States is interested in the economic stability and growth of Europe, because the European Union (EU) is its principal and largest economic partner. The United States and the EU enjoy the largest trade and investment relationship in the world, which should not be jeopardized by disruptive, anti-status-quo powers. Europe’s energy independence is not only an economic interest of America, but also a political and security one. Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas undermines European unity and weakens the primary U.S. allies in their relations with Russia. U.S. Armed Forces in Europe and the U.S. Army in particular can and should play an important role in promoting energy security. This involvement includes: increased situational awareness; deployment to the sensitive areas; and enhanced training activities, including with the allies of the U.S. military in Central and Eastern Europe.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Energy Policy, Natural Resources, Military Affairs, Gas
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe, Soviet Union
  • Author: Professor John F. Troxell
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: A recent editorial in The New York Times asked the question, “Who threatens America most?” It proceeded to compare recent pronouncements by incoming senior military leaders, the President, the FBI director, and finally the Director of National Intelligence. The major candidates included the usual nation states (Russia, North Korea, and China), a few nonstate terrorist organizations (ISIS and al-Qaeda), and a couple of unattributed capabilities (weapons of mass destruction and cyberattacks). The editorial concluded with the lament: “If officials cannot agree on what the most pressing threats are, how can they develop the right strategies and properly allocate resources?”1 Given the confusion and uncertainty generated by the current strategic environment, compounded by America’s resource-driven retrenchment, it is a fair question. However, I contend that we could pursue a more focused national strategy and do a better job of allocating resources if we focus on the opportunities as opposed to this wide array of threats. The opportunity that beckons is the increasingly interconnected global economy and the integral role played by the United States in both its institutional design and future evolution. A functioning, interconnected global economy will mitigate most, if not all, of the previously mentioned threats, whereas a fractured and disconnected global economy will exacerbate them.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Economics, Governance, Global Markets
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Dr. James Igoe Walsh, Marcus Dr. Schulze
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Armed unmanned aerial vehicles—combat drones—have fundamentally altered the ways the United States conducts military operations aimed at countering insurgent and terrorist organizations. Drone technology is on track to become an increasingly important part of the country’s arsenal, as numerous unmanned systems are in development and will likely enter service in the future. Concerned citizens, academics, journalists, nongovernmental organizations, and policymakers have raised questions about the ethical consequences of drones and issued calls for their military use to be strictly regulated. This level of concern is evidence that the future of drone warfare not only hinges on technical innovations, but also on careful analysis of the moral and political dimensions of war. Regardless of whether drones are effective weapons, it would be difficult to sanction their use if they undermine the legitimacy of U.S. military forces or compromise the foundations of democratic government.
  • Topic: Security, Human Welfare, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Counter-terrorism, Ethics, Drones
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Professor John F. Troxell
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The recently published National Military Strategy emphasizes the unpredictability of the global security environment. According to General Dempsey, “global disorder has significantly increased while some of our comparative military advantage has begun to erode. We now face multiple, simultaneous security challenges…” General Odierno echoes this concern by pointing to the “increased velocity of instability,” and emboldened potential adversaries that have “magnified the risk to U.S. interests around the world.” Responding to this period of geopolitical uncertainty demands thoughtful and careful analysis of a wide array of strategic issues. The Strategic Studies Institutes’ (SSI) annual Key Strategic Issues List (KSIL) addresses this need by providing a list of high-priority topics organized to support the Army's most important strategic objectives, issues that must be addressed to ensure the Army of 2025 and beyond will continue to meet the needs of the nation. Part I of the KSIL lists the Chief of Staff of the Army’s top five topics, all five of which will be addressed as integrative research projects by the US Army War College. Part II, “Priority Research Areas,” is a compilation of critical topics developed by the Army War College and Commands and organizations throughout the Army. Part III consists of the Army Warfighting Challenges. Students and researchers are encouraged to get in touch with the topic sponsors listed in the document, tackle one of these issues, and contribute to the knowledge base needed to support the future direction of the Army
  • Topic: Security, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Dr. Robert D. Lamb
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The problem with the way the international community thinks about and responds to fragile states is not that we do not understand “fragility,” its causes, and its cures, but that we think of them as “states,” as coherent units of analysis. As a result of this strategic level mistake, efforts to build state capacity to contain violence and reduce poverty are at least as likely to destabilize the country as they are to help. The U.S. military should consider the destabilizing potential of its efforts to build capacity, train and equip security forces, and provide support to diplomacy and development when its partners and beneficiaries are officials of fragile states. State formation has always been an exceedingly bloody endeavor. Most stable countries worthy of the term “state” that are stable, including wealthy, Western, liberal, or democratic nation-states, came into being through complicated social processes, including war, ethnic cleansing, or genocide. That violence was followed by an institutionalization of the values and social priorities of the victors, combined with some degree of accommodation for the vanquished across and within the new state’s borders. State formation, in other words, has always been a matter of violent exclusion followed by pragmatic inclusion. In all successful states today, those processes have resulted in stable formal political systems, with a significant degree of internal consensus over how those systems should be governed. Today, a quarter of the world’s population, and half of the world’s poor people by some estimates, live in places commonly referred to as “fragile states,” beset by conflict, poverty traps, low social cohesion and, in many cases, cycles of violence and terror. These pathologies are not contained within the borders of fragile states, however. As it is ritually noted in most articles on state fragility, these are places that often generate dangerous spillovers: regional tensions, international terrorism, transnational organized crime, an inability to contain outbreaks of disease, and other problems generally associated with the term “instability.” But fragile states are not “states” in the same sense as those that are stable. They developed differently. They went through periods of tribal governance and warfare and, in some cases, territorial consolidation, as European states did, but then most were subjected to colonization by distant powers or severe domination by regional hegemons, in both cases with foreigners imposing borders and manipulating local politics, elevating one set of elites at the expense of populations with whom they did not share a tribal, ethnic, or national identity. When those foreign powers left (or reduced their footprint), the empowered elites either held on to power or were removed from power by their former subjects. In both cases, the internal fragmentation of views about governance—who should govern and how—remained and in all fragile states continues to be one of the most important determinants of fragility. The most common international responses to these pathologies tend to be exploitation by regional powers, containment by developed countries concerned about spillovers of violence, and capacity building of national institutions by international development agencies attempting to address the “root causes” of fragility by building state structures capable of governing the way “states” are supposed to govern. Looking at these two sets of countries—well governed, legitimate, and stable on one side, with poorly governed, illegitimate, and unstable on the other—it is understandable to conclude that, if only fragile states were more legitimate and better governed, they would also be more stable, peaceful, and prosperous. Post-conflict reconstruction, stabilization, poverty reduction, and other efforts to improve the quality of life for people living in fragile and conflict environments tend, therefore, to focus on building the legitimacy and capacity of state institutions, both military and civilian. Efforts to reduce the spillover of violence and terrorism likewise have key elements of state-building. When, however, has state-building ever worked? That is, when has foreign assistance to formal state institutions and civil society over an extended period of time, in places whose borders were drawn by, and whose elites were elevated by, foreign powers but where local populations do not agree with each other over basic questions of legitimate governance, ever resulted in the establishment of a stable state, one that is no longer “fragile” (in the usual definitions) or at significant risk of a return to violent politics? Consider the places often cited as state-building success stories. When I have asked proponents of state-building to name unambiguous successes, the responses most commonly include Germany and Japan after World War II, East Timor, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and sometimes Rwanda. But Germany and Japan were already states with highly developed bureaucracies that were largely left in place after their military forces were defeated. These were not cases of state-building but of state recovery and, in truth, they have little to teach us about how to stabilize fragile states. The borders of East Timor and Kosovo came into being as a result of wars; they are clear examples of state formation still in progress, and it is difficult to call Kosovo a success story when that country’s stability continues to depend so much on an international presence. Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Rwanda have made progress, but they have not been stable long enough to be considered stabilized, and certainly they continue to appear on lists of fragile states. Moreover, some post-conflict countries that have done things “right” according to the typical state-building script have dramatically regressed into violence—El Salvador is an excellent example—whereas some that have done things “wrong,” such as Laos, have managed to remain stable for more than 40 years. As a thought experiment, consider the following two possibilities. A fragile state is territorially fragmented along ethnic and sectarian lines, there are frequent civilian attacks between identity groups, the parliament and ministries are dominated by one group at the expense of the others and, as a consequence, there is constant low-level violence punctuated by periods of intense internal war and repression by the majority ethnic group, which nevertheless enjoys international recognition and assistance as “the” government and the “partner” whose “capacity” is to be built. Years of pouring resources into that government and its security forces serve only to strengthen one group at the expense of the others, providing counsel (and few incentives) to treat the other groups better while giving them the capacity to treat the other groups worse, thereby increasing the potential for conflict. Yet, even in such places, there are some stable, reasonably well-governed territories and communities that maintain a great degree of independence from the central government, with consensus on how they want to be governed, capable of collecting the resources they need to do so (in some cases democratically), and able to defend themselves against external aggression. Somaliland is an excellent example, but most fragile states have similar communities (large percentages of Afghans, for example, have reported that the conflict this past decade simply never affected their community). Such places look suspiciously like they are engaging in classic state formation, and doing so with neither support from their national governments nor recognition from the international community—whose support of their national governments often undermines local, successful state formation. I am not arguing that the international community should try to break up fragile states into more stable territories. Outsiders are not likely to be any more effective at redrawing the borders of fragile states today than the outsiders who drew the modern borders of those counties in the first place. But when a country falls apart in a civil war such that the state can no longer be said to be relevant in some areas of the country, or when the elites in control of national governing institutions fail to support or recognize the legitimacy of large segments of their own populations, due consideration should be given to those areas of the country that manage to stabilize on their own and govern the areas they control in ways that are more consistent with international norms than the central government is or had been. State-building is ineffective, and breaking up states is dangerous. International support to (if not recognition of) subnational state formation in fragile states is, therefore, among the more promising ways to think about how best to respond to fragile states. ***** The views expressed in this Strategic Insights article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. This article is cleared for public release; distribution is unlimited. ***** Organizations interested in reprinting this or other SSI and USAWC Press articles should contact the Editor for Production via e-mail at SSI_Publishing@conus.army.mil. All organizations granted this right must include the following statement: “Reprinted with permission of the Strategic Studies Institute and U.S. Army War College Press, U.S. Army War College.”
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Development, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: El Salvador, United States of America