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  • Author: Gigi Gronvall
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Synthetic biology is a relatively new scientific field that aims to make biology easier to engineer and, thus, more useful. It is already delivering on its enormous promise, yielding FDA-approved chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell cancer therapeutics, as well as non-medical products such as laboratory-produced fabrics, flavorings, adhesives, and detergents.[1][2] Despite such progress, however, the rapid growth and democratization of synthetic biology — almost all of which is taking place in the private sector — brings security challenges. Like all areas of the life sciences, it is “dual-use” and able to be exploited. To make misuse more limited and difficult to en‐ force, the United States will need to partner with other nations, international organizations, and international businesses to govern areas of the synthetic biology field...
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Biology, Medicine
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Alexandra Heffern
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: I have worked in development for almost twenty years, but when I declared my focus, I had not originally thought “I definitely want to do conflict-related programming and work in conflict zones.” Given my trajectory though, I organically started to do that. I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Vermont, and at that point the only way to study international development was through their Agricultural Economics program. After finishing school, my first real introduction to the field was when I started working with Oxfam in Boston. At first it was a very administrative position, but then I was lucky and had the opportunity to go overseas as the program officer in Cambodia, which is where I would say I began my career. At that point, I really wanted to work with an NGO — I had not even thought about working with USAID or a contractor — but in Cambodia I had the opportunity to work as a local American hire with USAID. After that I went to Clark University for graduate school, and after Clark I had a number of program management roles for USAID, all of which were in conflict zones. For example, I spent time working in Timor-Leste with Tetra Tech ARD, I spent time in Afghanistan, and I served as Chief of Party in Sudan for a conflict transition program. After being overseas I decided to return to the United States and began working with Chemonics, specifically supporting their Libya and Lebanon programs in the Office of Transition Initiatives...
  • Topic: Security, Conflict, Interview, USAID
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Samuel Bendett
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Following the end of the Cold War, the Russian Federation lagged behind the United States in terms of advanced technology in warfighting. However, after substantial spending on modernization starting in 2008, the Russian military and the nation’s defense sector have been making great strides at developing remotely operated and autonomous technologies and integrating them in their tactics and combat operations. Russia is also starting to invest in Artificial Intelligence (AI) development with specific military applications. These developments affect the ability of the United States to meet the goals in its new National Security Strategy; in order to meet its stated December 2017 objective of renewing American competitive advantage in key military areas, the United States should be aware of key adversarial developments such as Russia’s emerging unmanned, autonomous, and AI capabilities, and prepare itself in terms of appropriate capabilities, tactics, and plans...
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Military Affairs, Military Spending, Artificial Intelligence
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, United States of America
  • Author: Heather Williams
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Dr. Heather Williams is a lecturer in the Defence Studies Department and Centre for Science and Security Studies at King’s College London. She also does research for the Institute for Defense Analyses on Strategy, Forces, and Resources, and previously was a Research Fellow at Chatham House. Williams received her doctorate from King’s College London for her dissertation on U.S.-Russia arms control from 1968-2010.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Science and Technology, Weapons , Interview
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Christine Sixta Rinehart
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: The United States has been using Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) to assassinate terrorist targets since its first RPA strike on November 3, 2002, when a U.S. Predator fired a hellfire missile at a car traveling through the Mar’ib province of Yemen. The intelligence cycle of this targeted killing process is murky at best, and the policy has changed throughout the successive administrations of U.S. presidents. Details exist but there is no defined tangible chain of analysis concerning the selection of the target, the monitoring of the target, and finally, the assassination of the target. This paper attempts to elucidate the intelligence chain of analysis concerning American targeted killing and examine how the intelligence cycle of targeted killing varies through successive presidential administrations. ​ This paper will begin with a short analysis of relevant literature, although sources concerning this topic are scarce. The occurrence of targeted killings of U.S. citizens will also be explained in the literature section. The paper will continue with an elaboration of a generic intelligence cycle model, which will be used to illustrate the intelligence cycle of U.S. targeted killings using both the Reaper and the Predator RPA.[1] The paper will then address differences in the intelligence cycles and processes that have occurred between successive presidents since targeted killing first began in 2002 with President George W. Bush. Lastly, the paper will provide policy prescriptions in reference to improving targeted killing in the Middle East and Africa...
  • Topic: Security, Intelligence, Drones, Targeted Killing
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Kristi Govella
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: For most of history, the domains of the global commons were unclaimed, largely because the technology to access and utilize them did not exist.[1] In areas such as the high seas and outer space, it was impossible for states to establish and maintain sovereign control. Even as the relevant technologies developed, costliness and controls kept them initially concentrated largely in the hands of just a few major powers such as the Unit- ed States and the Soviet Union. For the United States, “command of the commons” became the military foundation of its hegemony, granting it the ability to access much of the planet and to credibly threaten to deny the use of such spaces to others.[2] Bipolar competition between the United States and the Soviet Union strongly influenced developments in the maritime and outer space domains. In the case of cyberspace, a more recent addition to the traditional global commons, the United States was also initially dominant due to its role in pioneering associated technologies. However, over time and particularly since the end of the Cold War, continuing technological innovation and diffusion have made these domains accessible to a growing number of countries. ​ This technological progress was born of both cooperation and competition between states. While some states chose to develop certain technologies indigenously, many acquired knowledge and equipment from abroad. Globalization of industry has made it easier for states to obtain a variety of foreign technologies, even lowering the threshold for them to procure disruptive military capabilities. In addition, over the last two decades, American primacy has been increasingly challenged by the rise of China, which has impacted the dynamics of technological development and diffusion across multiple domains. As China has acquired the technology to become more active in the commons, it has prompted major regional powers, such as Japan and India, to accelerate their own technological advancement, and other mid-sized and smaller countries have also become increasingly engaged.[3] ​ The consequence of this multiplication of technologically sophisticated actors has been the erosion of American primacy in the global commons. Although the United States still remains the most dominant player, it is faced with a more densely populated field, and management of these spaces has become more difficult. This article examines this trend in the high seas, outer space, and cyberspace since the end of the Cold War, with attention to the ways in which the rise of China and the relative decline of the United States have catalyzed greater engagement with the commons, particularly among the countries in Asia that find themselves most affected by this power transition. I argue that advances in and diffusion of technology have transformed the global commons into increasingly crowded domains characterized by interstate competition and heightened tensions. Whether these tensions prevail depends on the creation and strengthening of regimes to manage interactions and promote shared rules and norms...
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Globalization, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: China, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Sharon Bradford Franklin
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: In 2017, leaders of the U.S. Intelligence Community warned that “more than 30 nations are developing offensive cyberattack capabilities.”1 This means that more than 30 countries may be conducting hacking operations as a method for surveillance, disruption, or destruction. Unregulated cyber surveillance and cyberattacks by government actors can pose risks not only to a government’s foreign adversaries, but also to its own citizens. Thus, as the United States and other nations work to enhance their own offensive cyber capabilities, as well as to develop strategies to defend against potential attacks, it is critical that these countries establish legal regimes to govern such conduct in cyberspace. Although Germany has established a legal framework to regulate government hacking activities,[2] few countries have done so.[3] ​ To bring government hacking operations within the rule of law, a crucial step is to design rules regarding the management of vulnerabilities that governments discover or acquire. As with other cyber actors, when governments conduct hacking operations, this frequently involves exploiting vulnerabilities in computer hardware and software systems. But these same flaws can also be manipulated by a government’s foreign adversaries or other malicious actors. Therefore, when countries consider their abilities to rely on hacking as an investigative tool, as well as their interests in exploiting vulnerabilities for military and intelligence operations, they must also evaluate the capacity of information and communications technology providers to repair bugs and protect the cybersecurity of all users. Determining whether to exploit a vulnerability or disclose it to a vendor for patching involves balancing a variety of different security concerns against each other. ​ Some countries have made progress in formalizing the rules for making these decisions and in publicizing these rules to promote public accountability. In November 2017, the United States released a charter governing its Vulnerabilities Equities Process (VEP), which outlines how the U.S. government weighs the various competing equities.[4] The charter delineates which components of the government will participate in determinations regarding whether to disclose or retain each newly discovered vulnerability, and it sets forth the criteria to be used and the process to be followed in making such assessments. One year later, the United Kingdom (UK) announced its Equities Process, which follows a similar approach.5 Most recently, in March 2019, Australia released its “Responsible Release Principles for Cyber Security Vulnerabilities,”[6] and Germany is currently working to develop a VEP and is expected to make information about its process public in early 2019.[7] However, as described below, the VEP procedures revealed to date need further improvement,[8] and most of the nations with offensive cyber capabilities have not developed—or at least have not announced—any such framework...
  • Topic: Security, Intelligence, Science and Technology, Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Paul Rosenzweig
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Benjamin Franklin is famous, in part, for having said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Though historical evidence suggests Franklin’s quote has been misinterpreted,[1] the aphorism has come to stand for the proposition that privacy and security stand in opposition to each other, where every increase in security likely results in a commensurate decrease in privacy, and vice versa. ​ Couched in those terms, the privacy/security trade-off is a grim prospect. We naturally want both privacy and security to the greatest extent possible. But Franklin tells us this is impossible — that privacy and security are locked in a zero-sum game where the gain of one comes only at the loss of the other. ​ Of course, this characterization is assuredly flawed; it is certainly possible to adopt systems that maximize both privacy and security in a Pareto optimal way. That is one of the reasons why so many privacy and security experts simply revile the “balancing” metaphor — it obscures more than it illuminates... ​
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Privacy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: David Sanger, Travis Frederick
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: In The Perfect Weapon, David Sanger argues that the nature of global power itself is undergoing dramatic changes, brought about by the proliferation of highly advanced cyber capabilities. Today, internet access is nearly ubiquitous, the cost of entry is low, and, particularly in the domain of cyberwarfare, there is one fundamental fact: offensive capabilities have critically outpaced cyber defenses. A weak and impoverished nation like North Korea can hold large swaths of public and private infrastructure in America at risk, steal military OpPlans, and pilfer millions of dollars from foreign banks. A Kremlin reeling from sanctions, low oil prices, and historically low public trust is able to threaten the very foundations of American democracy through targeted social media campaigns and hacking and leaking the emails of a major political party. But while the offensive advantage has given weaker powers greater capacity to pursue their geopolitical objectives, U.S. leadership has found that their response options have not similarly benefitted. America’s offensive cyber prowess so exceeds its own defensive capabilities that officials often hesitate to strike back for fear of establishing norms of retaliation against vulnerable infrastructure or inciting unintended escalation. Sanger argues that without an open public debate among government policy makers, military planners, and academics to coordinate a grand strategy, the United States will be forced to accept a world of constant cyberattacks, limited response options, and the greater risk of capitulating to foreign coercion...
  • Topic: Security, Intelligence, Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Book Review
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Douglas Yeung
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Digital data captured from social media, cell phones, and other online activity has become an invaluable asset for security purposes. Online mapping or cell-phone location information can be used to collect intelligence on population movement, or to provide situational awareness in disasters or violent incidents. Social-media postings may be used to vet potential immigrants and job applicants, or to identify potential recruits who may be likely to join the military. ​ However, breakdowns in relationships between the tech industry and would-be consumers of technology’s handiwork could imperil the ability of security stakeholders to use this data. Ongoing issues have already begun to shape some technologists’ views on the ethical use of artificial intelligence and other technologies in war and conflict and their impact on human rights and civil liberties. It isn’t difficult to imagine a series of future incidents further souring collaboration between technologists and security stakeholders. ​ In contrast to its reluctance over security matters, the tech industry has been a willing partner for government agencies and communities that promote health and wellbeing—topics that present less of an ethical challenge. Although it may not be immediately apparent, wellbeing and security have much in common. Could the security community take a page from wellbeing efforts to improve their collaboration with the tech industry?...
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Business , Surveillance, Private Sector
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America