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  • Author: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: As climatic changes continue to make themselves painfully obvious across many geographies, U.S. energy infrastructure is increasingly at risk. The United States is ill prepared for this national security challenge. Climatic disruptions to domestic energy supply could be large, entailing huge economic losses and potentially requiring sizable domestic military mobilizations. Yet, public debate about emergency preparedness is virtually nonexistent. To explore the challenges of climate risk to the U.S. energy system, the Energy Security and Climate Change program at the Council on Foreign Relations convened a group of forty-four experts at the Council’s New York office on March 18–19, 2019, for the workshop “Climate Risk Impacts on the Energy System: Examining the Financial, Security, and Technological Dimensions.” During their deliberations, workshop participants discussed the presenters’ papers and explored how climate-related risks to U.S. energy infrastructure, financial markets, and national security could be measured, managed, and mitigated. Discussions began with assessments of the current state of climate research and the pressing need to improve data on localized effects, which could differ widely from global and regional averages. The workshop also investigated new energy technologies, financial tools, and changes to disclosure regulations that could enable the United States to reduce risks and mitigate consequences of climatic shifts.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Nuala O'Conner
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Half of all Americans believe their personal information is less secure now than it was five years ago, and a sobering study from the Pew Research Center reveals how little faith the public has in organizations, whether governmental or private-sector, to protect their data—and with good reason. In 2017, there was a disastrous breach at Equifax, Yahoo’s admission that billions of its email accounts were compromised, Deep Root Analytics’ accidental leak of personal details of nearly two hundred million U.S. voters, and Uber’s attempt to conceal a breach that affected fifty-seven million accounts. Individuals are left stymied about what action they can take, if any, to protect their digital assets and identity. Nuala O’Connor Yet record-shattering data breaches and inadequate data-protection practices have produced only piecemeal legislative responses at the federal level, competing state laws, and a myriad of enforcement regimes. Most Western countries have already adopted comprehensive legal protections for personal data, but the United States—home to some of the most advanced, and largest, technology and data companies in the world—continues to lumber forward with a patchwork of sector-specific laws and regulations that fail to adequately protect data. U.S. citizens and companies suffer from this uneven approach—citizens because their data is not adequately protected, and companies because they are saddled with contradictory and sometimes competing requirements. It is past time for Congress to create a single legislative data-protection mandate to protect individuals’ privacy and reconcile the differences between state and federal requirements.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Privacy, Data, Digitization
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: David P. Fidler
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The tasks of securing outer space and cyberspace are converging. The internet increasingly depends on space-enabled communication and information services. Likewise, the operation of satellites and other space assets relies on internet-based networks, which makes these assets, like cars and medical equipment, devices on the internet of things. New government actors, companies, goals, and technologies are expanding and transforming space activities. However, neither space policy nor cybersecurity policy is prepared for the challenges created by the meshing of space and cyberspace, which could increase national security risks. To meet these challenges, government, industry, and international action is needed. The Donald J. Trump administration’s National Space Council should develop cybersecurity recommendations for space activities, and federal agencies should prioritize these within the government and in cooperation with the private sector. In crafting needed legislation for commercial space activities, Congress should bolster industry efforts to strengthen cybersecurity. Private-sector actors should strengthen their adoption of cybersecurity best practices and collaborate with one another on improving implementation of cybersecurity strategies. Internationally, the United States should pursue collaboration on space cybersecurity through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), plurilateral space cooperation mechanisms, and bilateral forums.
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Space
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Emerging challenges to international order require cooperation between the United States and China, two countries that share a common interest in preventing the world from becoming more dangerous and disorderly. U.S.-China relations are becoming more strained and antagonistic, however, and the prospects for cooperation appear to be receding. To explore whether there are still grounds for cooperation on issues of common concern between the two countries, in March 2018 the Center for Preventive Action (CPA) at the Council on Foreign Relations convened a group of fifteen experts from the United States and China for the workshop “Managing Global Disorder: Prospects for U.S.-China Cooperation.” CPA partnered with Peking University’s School of International Studies in Beijing for the workshop and also met with experts at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing and the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies in Shanghai. During the workshop, President Donald J. Trump announced plans to impose about $60 billion in new tariffs on Chinese imports. While trade was a major topic of discussion, it was by no means the only area discussed. Workshop participants assessed conflicting views of the sources of global disorder and examined areas of global governance such as international trade, development, the environment, and the future of various multilateral institutions. They also discussed the most pressing security challenges in East and Southwest Asia. Participants highlighted the need for a greater understanding between the United States and China on the evolving international order. No major transnational problems will be solved without some cooperation between the two powers. It is therefore imperative that the two countries avoid a further deterioration of the relationship and instead identify areas of potential cooperation.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Tariffs, Social Order
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America
  • Author: Robert K. Knake
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The U.S. government and private industry have been stuck at an impasse concerning cybersecurity information sharing for over a decade. While the Barack Obama administration rolled out executive and legislative efforts to increase information sharing, many U.S. companies still argue that the federal government should do more to provide them with useful intelligence on cyber threats. But the U.S. intelligence community argues that greater declassification and sharing of information with private companies could put technical sources and methods at risk. Fixes to this problem exist. The Department of Defense already provides a classified network for cleared defense contractors to receive intelligence on threats to their companies. Replicating this network for cyber threats has long been discussed as a way to share more information with the financial sector, electricity suppliers, and other private-sector entities critical to the U.S. economy. Expanding this network requires increasing the number of cleared personnel and of facilities that can hold classified information, as well as changing intelligence collection priorities. These hurdles can be addressed by cooperative efforts between the public and private sectors. As a crucial first step, the U.S. government should begin the targeted collection of intelligence on cyber threats to critical infrastructure. To disseminate this information, the government should establish security standards different from those applicable to defense contractors to determine who may hold clearances.
  • Topic: Security, Cybersecurity, Information Age, Private Sector
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Although the Barack Obama administration rhetorically made Southeast Asia a centerpiece of its “rebalance to Asia” strategy, the administration still largely focused on the Middle East and Europe, and Southeast Asia remained a low U.S. policy priority. The Obama administration did try to boost U.S. economic ties with Southeast Asia in 2016 by forging the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but that trade deal was broadly unpopular in the United States. The following year, the Donald J. Trump administration ended U.S. participation in the TPP, and it also suggested launching punitive economic measures against Southeast Asian states currently running trade surpluses with the United States. Many Southeast Asian leaders now worry that Washington has no clear security or economic strategy for the region, other than applying pressure on Beijing to respect freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. In this perceived void of U.S. leadership and strategy, workshop participants assessed how Southeast Asia might change as China becomes an increasingly dominant regional security and economic actor. They also discussed the future of U.S. strategic and economic relationships with important partners in the region, including Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Participants further considered how China might use its growing leverage in Southeast Asia, and whether Beijing’s tactics could backfire. Finally, several workshop participants posited that the United States, China, and Southeast Asian states could cooperate on at least some nontraditional security issues, such as combating piracy and terrorism.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Despite recent turbulence in the transatlantic relationship, the United States and the European Union share a common interest in managing emerging sources of global disorder. To explore prospects for and challenges to transatlantic cooperation, the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations convened an international group of twenty-three experts at the Tufts University Center in Talloires, France, on July 12–13, 2018, for the workshop “Managing Global Disorder: Prospects for Transatlantic Cooperation.” The workshop is the third in a series of meetings supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. It is premised on the belief that the United States, China, the European Union, and Russia not only share a common interest in preventing the world from becoming more dangerous and disorderly, but also that the nature and scope of this task necessitates cooperation among them. Workshop participants discussed their perceptions of the growing sources of disorder in the world, examined areas of strategic cooperation, and explored where the United States and the European Union might work together to address a variety of regional concerns emanating from Africa, China, the Middle East, and Russia. While highlighting how the two can work together to address increasing political instability and violent conflict, participants also cited the importance of the transatlantic relationship in preventing or mitigating the demise of the liberal international order.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Cooperation, European Union, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, North America, Atlantic Ocean
  • Author: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: While relations between the United States and Russia have deteriorated in recent years, making it exceedingly difficult for both countries to collaborate in managing a variety of common concerns, emerging challenges to global order make such cooperation increasingly imperative. To explore where U.S.-Russia cooperation is desirable and, in some places, even necessary, the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations convened an international group of twenty-three experts at the Tufts University European Center in Talloires, France, on June 9 and 10, 2017, for the workshop “Managing Global Disorder: Prospects for U.S.-Russian Cooperation.”
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Anupam Chander
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Digital commerce and trade are increasingly important to the global economy. Seven of the ten most valuable firms today are technology companies (Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Alibaba, and Tencent). Data, according to some analysts, is the new oil. A major study concluded that the internet has powered some one-fifth of recent economic growth within the leading economies. Jobs are increasingly dependent on digitization; digital skills are needed for all but two job categories [PDF] in the United States: dishwashing and food cooking. Just as national economies are becoming more digitized, barriers to digital trade are being erected. These barriers limit opportunities for consumers to access global providers and for small- and medium-sized enterprises to reach new customers. It is not only technology firms that suffer; all enterprises with international operations need cross-border data flows to process, analyze, and transfer data about employees, customers, and operations. Global supply chains depend on the flow of goods, data, and services across borders. Moreover, commitment to the free flow of information across borders is essential to freedom of expression. Digital trade is about more than access to markets; it is about access to information. The renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is an excellent opportunity to set the gold standard for digital free trade. Despite public pronouncements about the harm free trade causes to the steel and automobile industries, the Donald J. Trump administration, to its credit, recognizes the importance of removing digital trade barriers in its stated objectives for the NAFTA renegotiation [PDF]. In its negotiations with Canada and Mexico, the Trump administration should seek rules limiting data localization, promote a balanced approach to intellectual property protections, support cross-border privacy rules, and remove barriers that hinder the trade of services.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Digital Economy, NAFTA
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Jamille Bigio, Rachel Vogelstein
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Armies and armed groups often subject noncombatants—particularly women and children—to conflict-related sexual violence, such as rape, sexual slavery, and forced marriage. Despite international recognition of this devastating abuse as a crime against humanity, sexual violence continues to plague conflicts from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to Syria. This practice has also proliferated among extremist groups, including Boko Haram in Nigeria and the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Additionally, sexual violence has tarnished the operations of peacekeepers charged with protecting civilians, thereby undermining the integrity and effectiveness of international peacekeeping institutions across the globe. Sexual violence in conflict is not simply a gross violation of human rights—it is also a security challenge. Wartime rape fuels displacement, weakens governance, and destabilizes communities, thereby inhibiting postconflict reconciliation and imperiling long-term stability. Combating conflict-related sexual violence merits a higher place on the U.S. foreign policy agenda. Although the U.S. government has taken modest steps to address sexual violence in conflict under successive Republican and Democratic administrations, more action is needed. To counter such violence, the Donald J. Trump administration should require training on conflict-related sexual violence in U.S. security cooperation efforts; expand the number of women serving in militaries, police, and peacekeeping forces around the world; increase accountability for the crime of sexual violence; and undermine terrorist financing streams raised through the abduction of women and children. These steps will help the United States and its allies respond effectively to the security threat posed by conflict-related sexual violence and advance U.S. interests in peace and stability.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Gender Based Violence , Conflict, Sexual Violence
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Congo