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  • Author: Heather A Conley
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: On Friday, May 5, 2017—just two days before the second and final round of the French presidential elections—gigabytes of data hacked from Emmanuel Macron’s presidential campaign team were released online. Months earlier an orchestrated disinformation campaign against the Macron presidential campaign had already begun. The so-called Macron Leaks—a combination of real emails and forgeries—could have been yet another example of a long list of attempts by Russia to interfere in a high-stakes transatlantic election. But the 2017 French presidential election may be the exception that proves the rule: it is the most clearly failed attempt. The Kremlin neither succeeded in interfering with the presidential election nor in dividing French society. As the United States prepares to hold nationwide elections on November 6, 2018, the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, has already warned in February of this year that “We expect Russia to continue using propaganda, social media, false-flag personas, sympathetic spokespeople and other means of influence to try to exacerbate social and political fissures in the United States.” Calling Russian influence “pervasive,” Director Coats further noted that “The Russians have a strategy that goes well beyond what is happening in the United States,” he said. “While they have historically tried to do these types of things, clearly in 2016 they upped their game. They took advantage, a sophisticated advantage of social media. They are doing that not only in the United States but . . . throughout Europe and perhaps elsewhere.” Because the United States is not well prepared for future elections, it is necessary to study the past. This is why the 2017 French presidential election is a particularly important election to study and why we highlight French scholar Jean-Baptiste Jeangène Vilmer’s groundbreaking report on the Macron Leaks.1 Drawing in part upon the work of CSIS visiting fellow Boris Toucas,2 Vilmer’s forthcoming report will examine what happened during the French presidential election; who orchestrated the affair; how it was successfully countered; and what lessons can be learned. This Brief, which is part of the forthcoming CSIS comprehensive report, sums up the main lessons learned. Myriad structural factors, luck, as well as effective anticipation and reaction by the Macron campaign staff, government and civil society, and especially the mainstream media, combined to successfully resist Russian malign influence.
  • Topic: Intelligence, National Security, Elections, Interference
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, France
  • Author: Michael Wallace, Amy Roma, Sachin Desai
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The U.S. commercial nuclear energy industry helps the U.S. government meet several key national security objectives. But the industry is struggling to survive. We are not the first to say this and we will not be the last. We are also not the first to call for U.S. government support for this struggling industry—but this call to action is different. We are urging U.S. government action—not with the focus of protecting the commercial sector, but with a focus to protect U.S. government interests impacted by the decline in the commercial nuclear energy sector. This is a key distinction and warrants attention at the highest level of government. This paper is not intended for those in the nuclear energy industry. They know the issues. It is intended for the U.S. government and the U.S. public—to explain the reasons why U.S. government action is critical at this moment, and to explain how we can move forward in a manner that best protects our country’s national security. But what are these national security objectives and how are U.S. government and national security interests undermined by a decline in the commercial nuclear energy sector? In this paper we explain the critical importance of the U.S. commercial nuclear energy industry in support of U.S. defense, research, economics, geopolitics, and international nonproliferation. We walk through how the U.S. commercial nuclear energy industry arose out of and with the support of the U.S. government—and how President Eisenhower’s reasons for bringing nuclear energy to the world in the 1950s are the very same reasons that the United States needs to continue to do so today. We unravel the web of interconnections between the commercial nuclear energy industry and achieving U.S. government and national security goals. And we explain the impact that a declining commercial nuclear energy sector has on achieving those crucial goals. Moreover, we set forth a recommended path forward to come “back from the brink” and preserve critical commercial nuclear energy sector assets—including technology, knowhow, people, and influence—before they are lost forever, and U.S. national security is damaged as a result. This industry must survive—and it can if the U.S. government and private industry work together, recognizing the government and civilian integrated nuclear infrastructure moving forward. Notably, the response must be U.S. government led to take the approach that is best for the country, rather than any particular company or technology. We recommend five core U.S.-government-led actions to move forward that focus.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, National Security, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The United States has now been at war in Afghanistan for some seventeen years and been fighting another major war in Iraq for fifteen years. It has been active in Somalia far longer and has spread its operations to deal with terrorist or extremist threats in a wide range of conflicts in North and Sub-Saharan in Africa, South Asia, and South East Asia. In case after case, the U.S. has moved far beyond counterterrorism to counterinsurgency, and from the temporary deployment of small anti-terrorism forces to a near "permanent" military presence. The line between counterterrorism and counterinsurgency has become so blurred that there is no significant difference. The national academic consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) has just issued new trend data on terrorism that are updated through the end of 2017. When they are combined with other major sources of data on terrorism, they provide the ability to trace the history of U.S. "wars" against terrorism in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. They show the results of America's "long wars" of attrition where it is increasingly unclear that the United States has a strategy to terminate them, or has the capability to end them in ways that create a stable and peaceful state that can survive if the United State should leave. The resulting graphics and maps are provided in the full text of the report on which this summary is based, and which is available on the CSIS website here. This summary both summarizes how the trends in such data reveal the patterns in terrorism and impact on U.S. strategy. The key conclusions, and an index to these graphics, are provided in this summary.
  • Topic: Imperialism, National Security, Terrorism, Counter-terrorism, War on Terror
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, United States, South Asia, Asia, North Africa, Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author: Seth G. Jones
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The August 14 attack in London is the latest reminder that terrorism persists in the West more than a decade and a half after September 11, 2001. The United States continues to face a threat from right-wing, left-wing, and Islamic extremists, despite comments from some U.S. policymakers that terrorist groups have been defeated. Perhaps the most significant lesson from the London attack, however, is the resilience of the British public. They kept calm and carried on. The attacker was Salih Khater, a UK citizen from Birmingham who was in his late twenties. He drove a silver Ford Fiesta into a crowd of pedestrians and cyclists in London and then crashed it into a security barrier outside the Houses of Parliament. Eyewitness accounts were chilling. “I heard lots of screams and turned round,” remarked Barry Williams. “The car went on to the wrong side of the road to where cyclists were waiting at lights and ploughed into them.”1 The tactic—a vehicle used as a weapon—is all too familiar. Terrorists in the West have increasingly resorted to simple tactics, such as vehicles and knives, to kill civilians. Compared to previous incidents in the United Kingdom, Salih Khater’s August 14 attack was second-rate. He had been meandering around London for several hours, which suggests that the incident was not carefully planned. His tiny Ford Fiesta was no match for the barriers around the Houses of Parliament that are designed to stop attacks from 18-wheelers. And Khater failed to kill anyone, though he did injure several people. UK security agencies have conditioned their public to be prepared for plots and attacks. The United Kingdom’s recently-published counterterrorism strategy, CONTEST, argues that the country faces a significant, multidimensional threat from terrorists. According to data from the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, there were more failed, foiled, and completed attacks in the United Kingdom than anywhere else in the European Union in 2017.2 There were also more terrorist-related arrests in the UK in 2017 than in any previous year since 2001.3 Between December 2013 and May 2018, British intelligence and law enforcement agencies thwarted 25 plots from extreme Islamic groups.4 Most of these plots were inspired by the Islamic State and its ideology, rather than directed by Islamic State operatives.5 On March 22, 2017, for example, British-born Khalid Masood drove a sports utility vehicle into pedestrians crossing Westminster Bridge in London, killing three people. Masood then took two carving knives out of his vehicle and stabbed police officer Keith Palmer, killing him outside of Parliament. On May 22, 2017, Salman Abedi detonated an improvised explosive device in the foyer of Manchester Arena, killing 22 people; 10 of them were under 20 years old. On June 3, 2017, three men—Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane, and Youssef Zaghba—drove a van into London Bridge, killing two people. They then jumped out of the van and killed six more people using large knives. On September 15, 2017, an 18-year old Iraqi asylum seeker named Ahmed Hassan detonated a bomb using triacetone triperoxide (TATP) on a District line train at Parsons Green Underground station in London. Thirty people were treated for burn and other injuries.6 Right-wing terrorism has also been on the rise in the United Kingdom. On June 19, 2017, Darren Osborne, a 47-year old British man, drove a van into Muslim worshippers near Finsbury Park Mosque, London, killing one person.7 On June 23, 2017, Marek Zakrocki, a known supporter of the far-right party Britain First, drove a vehicle into an Indian restaurant in London, injuring several people. He was armed with a kitchen knife and a baton-torch, and he told police: “I’m going to kill a Muslim. I’m doing this for Britain. This is the way I am going to help the country. You people can’t do anything. I am going to do it my way because that is what I think is right.”8 While there have been relatively few terrorist attacks in the United States recently, the United Kingdom—and Europe more broadly—have faced a more severe threat. The number of jihadist-related terrorist attacks in the European Union peaked in 2017 with 33 failed, foiled, and completed attacks. This number was up from 13 in 2016, 17 in 2015, and 2 in 2014. The geographic distribution of attacks also expanded. European Union countries experiencing jihadist-related terrorism now includes such countries as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland.
  • Topic: National Security, Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe, England
  • Author: David Pumphrey, Lisa Hyland, Michelle Melton
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In the last several years, rail has come to play an important role in the transportation of growing U.S. crude oil production. Over the last seven months, a number of serious accidents have resulted in intense review of the safety of shipping large quantities of oil by rail. The focus has been on classification of the oil, the integrity of tank cars, and rail operations. Regulatory processes have been initiated to attempt to deal with these issues in a timely manner. This analysis provides facts that illuminate the players, concerns, current status of regulatory action, as well as the potential issues going forward.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, National Security, Oil
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, North America
  • Author: Condoleezza Rice, James L. Jones
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The terrorist attacks of 9/11 represent a watershed for the United States, redefining its national security priorities in the twenty- first century. Today, the greatest threat to the United States is no longer powerful rival states; rather, it is fragile and failing states that pose the greatest danger to U.S. borders. These “ungoverned spaces” with poor, ineffective, or absent governments lack basic services and fall behind on economic development. With today's interconnectivity, these unchecked pockets of the world that propagate corruption, terrorism, and the trafficking of drugs, arms, and humans create major security threats that can permeate across insecure borders
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, National Security, Terrorism, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Satu Limaye
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: High-profile visits and meetings characterized Indian relations with both the United States and East Asia in 2010. While there were no major “breakthroughs” or departures as a result, the ongoing evolution of both US-India and India-East Asia relations suggests that they are now a fixed part of the US-Asia dynamic. It is worth noting that while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton neither visited India during her first trip to Asia in February 2009 (she did visit India in July 2009) nor made mention of India in her pre-departure address on US Asia policy, in November 2010 President Obama opened his speech to the joint session of India”s Parliament by declaring that “[i]t”s no coincidence that India is my first stop on a visit to Asia…” And the joint statement between the two countries issued during that visit specifically noted a “shared vision for peace, stability and prosperity in Asia, the Indian Ocean region and the Pacific region…[and] agreed “to deepen existing regular strategic consultations on developments in East Asia…” Indeed, including India at all in an Asia itinerary is a recent innovation in US foreign policy and one that speaks to a larger US policy debate about the evolving Asia-Pacific. Whether such an innovation sticks remains to be seen, although many indications suggest that it will; especially as the need to coordinate increases on matters such as the East Asian Summit, maritime cooperation across the “Indo-Pacific,” and wider global issues.
  • Topic: International Relations, National Security
  • Political Geography: United States, India, East Asia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Victor D. Cha, Ellen Kim
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The US and South Korea continued strong solidarity and close policy coordination on North Korea in early 2011. The US made repeated calls for North Korea to improve its relations with South Korea and show sincerity about denuclearization. The Hu Jintao visit to the US in January paved the way for the first inter-Korean talks since the Yeonpyeong shelling, although they collapsed as the two Koreas could not resolve their dispute over the sinking of the Cheonan. Meanwhile, the US and South Korea agreed to pursue a UNSC Presidential Statement that would denounce North Korea's uranium enrichment program. Possible resumption of US food aid and Jimmy Carter's Pyongyang visit were new variables, although neither brought any change. The KORUS FTA looks near its long-awaited passage in the Congress. With both the Obama and Lee administrations making final efforts to clear all political barriers , it appears that the measure will be passed in both countries in the coming months.
  • Topic: National Security
  • Political Geography: United States, South Korea, North Korea