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  • Author: Kara Frederick
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: Aglobal contest between democracies and autocracies is raging on the digital front. Technology stands to alter the balance between free, open societies and closed, repressive regimes. Nation states in direct competition with the United States seek to project global influence by shaping an existing digital order to their will. Impulses toward illiberal use of technology at home threaten to curtail individual liberties, constrict opportunity, and erode a truly open society. Democracies do not yet have a model for how to confront this. In the United States, a roadmap for a solution must start with the fundamental question: How should U.S. technology companies, with the help of the U.S. government, respond to the illiberal use of technology by authoritarian actors abroad? This report contends with this question by identifying concrete actions and threat-mitigating strategies that contain the input of government, the tech sector, civil society, and academia. It provides starting points to address the systemic risk inherent in dealing with authoritarian regimes and also examines cost imposition on those complicit in tech-enabled human rights abuses. Yet a strategy aimed only at staunching the illiberal use of technology will fail in the long term. Instead, the U.S. government and tech companies alike must recruit democratic allies to purvey an affirmative agenda that promotes digital freedom across the globe. This report proposes an agenda that stresses privacy leadership by the United States and its technology companies. It identifies areas of collaboration for U.S. allies and democratic partners, like digital trade, foreign law enforcement requests for data, and technical standards. This report’s affirmative agenda also contains an imperative for U.S. tech companies to build commercial norms toward digital freedom and incentivize transparency within their own ranks. For digital freedom to prevail over authoritarian uses of technology, democracies must present something better. Together, they must establish an alternative model for the use of technology globally. These recommendations build that democratic case, starting with the United States.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Science and Technology, Authoritarianism, Democracy
  • Political Geography: North America, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Ilan Goldenberg, Michael Koplow, Tamara Coffman Wittes
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: Today’s realities demand that the United States change its approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Its current focus is on high-profile diplomatic initiatives that aim for a permanent agreement in which the United States is the central mediator. Instead, the United States must focus on taking tangible steps, both on the ground and diplomatically, that will improve the freedom, prosperity, and security of all people living between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, while also cultivating the conditions for a future two-state agreement negotiated between the parties.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Territorial Disputes, Conflict, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Israel, Palestine, United States of America
  • Author: Jason Bartlett
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: North Korea conducts intricate and sweeping cyberattacks against the United States and its allies to acquire funds to support its illicit nuclear proliferation efforts. Unlike more economically advanced nuclear states possessing domestic research, development, and deployment capacities to establish weapon of mass destruction (WMD) programs, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) must seek financial resources, assistance, and institutional knowledge, at least initially, from overseas. It has developed its cyber capabilities in order to circumvent financial sanctions and global safeguards, conducting elaborate online bank heists and hacking attacks; stealing funds through fraudulent bank transfers, Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) transactions, and ATM cash-outs; launching ransomware attacks demanding payment in cryptocurrency; and hacking cryptocurrency exchanges. The scale and sophistication of these innovative sanctions evasion tactics create a challenge that calls for stronger measures to confront them. In addition to providing policy recommendations for U.S. leadership and financial institutions, this report will outline the ways North Korea supports, expands, and utilizes cyber operations to acquire funds for its nuclear weapons program.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Elizabeth Rosenberg, Peter Harrell, Paula J. Dobriansky, Adam Szubin
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: U.S. policymakers will continue to intensively use a growing array of coercive economic tools, including tariffs, sanctions, trade controls, and investment restrictions. The growing use reflects a desire by policymakers to use coercive economic tools in support of a growing range of policy objectives. Diplomacy around these tools has long been challenging and can require hard choices. To use these tools effectively, policymakers should focus on articulating clear objectives and measuring effectiveness and costs. U.S.-China competition raises the stakes for getting the use of coercive economic statecraft right. Policymakers in the next presidential administration and Congress would be well-served to spend at least as much effort focusing on the positive tools of statecraft. These include domestic economic renewal, international finance and development incentives, and positive trade measures, among others.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Sanctions, Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Kristine Lee, Joshua Fitt, Coby Goldberg
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The U.S.–South Korea alliance is a primary deterrent to the threat North Korea’s growing nuclear arsenal poses. But the alliance’s nearly singular functional focus on managing the North Korea threat, despite South Korea’s broadly integral role in advancing a rules-based order in the region, has introduced volatility in the bilateral relationship. Washington’s halting and inconsistent approach to Pyongyang and its failure to reach a timely agreement on its military cost-sharing framework with Seoul have nudged the alliance toward a new inflection point. Beyond the North Korea challenge, South Korea has the potential to play a consequential role in advancing the United States’ broader vision for a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific. As Seoul adopts globally oriented policies, buoyed by its position at the leading edge of certain technology areas and its successful COVID-19 pandemic response, the United States should parlay these efforts into a more concrete role for South Korea as a partner on the world stage. Collaborating on global public health issues, combating climate change, and jointly developing norms around critical emerging technologies would position the alliance to meet the challenges of the 21st century. By widening the aperture of the alliance and positioning Seoul to play an integral role in the United States’ vision for the future of the Indo-Pacific, the two allies will be better equipped to address enduring geopolitical risks in Northeast Asia, including those associated with a nuclear-armed North Korea.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Alliance, Modernization
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Paul Scharre, Ainikki Riikonen
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The Department of Defense’s (DoD) ever-shifting technology priorities jeopardize its ability to win a long-term technology competition. The DoD needs a systematic approach—a technology strategy—for how to prioritize technology investments. The dominant global tech trend today is the information revolution, which is leading to exponential growth in digital capabilities. The top priority of the DoD’s technology strategy should be rapidly spinning in and militarizing digital technologies generated in the private sector. The DoD should invest in key military-specific technologies, such as hypersonics or directed energy weapons, when there is clear operational value but should expect advancements to be incremental.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Science and Technology, Cybersecurity, Investment
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Loren DeJonge Schulman
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The tragic 2017 killing of four U.S. Army personnel caught in a surprise ambush in Niger offers very few positive lessons for congressional oversight. Indeed, when speaking with experts, there is little agreement on whether Congress was kept appropriately informed or was even in a position to understand the mission of U.S. forces in Niger. Superficially, there are blunt facts—years of War Powers notifications detailing increasing numbers of combat-equipped personnel and U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) posture statements highlighting the counterterrorism mission in the Sahel—stood against blunt statements from senior members—“I didn’t know there was 1,000 troops in Niger,” Senator Lindsey Graham said shortly after the incident.1 Explored in more detail, inconsistent mission and authority reporting from the Department of Defense (DoD) confronts, and combines with, variable expectations from Congress. At the heart of this friction is the by-with-and-through counterterrorism strategy, how it is implemented in practice, and whether key stakeholders have a common understanding of its rule sets and risks. Some of the gaps the Tongo Tongo ambush highlighted—between the Pentagon and operational units; between AFRICOM and Special Operations Command Africa (SOC-AF); and between Congress and the DoD—have been addressed, but others remain. This incident offers multiple lessons to both sides of the Potomac River in improving oversight relationships, both in informal interactions and in formal understanding of authorities and oversight responsibilities.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Military Affairs, Counter-terrorism
  • Political Geography: Africa, North America, Niger, United States of America
  • Author: Julianne Smith, Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Carisa Nietsche, Ellison Laskowski
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: Mounting competition between China and liberal democracies will shape the course of the 21st century. The gravity and scope of the challenges that China poses have permeated the transatlantic policy agenda and become a focal point in U.S.-Europe relations. Whereas China has long been a source of disagreement and even tension between the transatlantic partners, in the past two years views have converged. The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) assertive actions—its “Wolf Warrior” diplomacy, aggressive influence operations, human rights violations at home, and elimination of fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong—have increased concerns in both the United States and Europe. There is now fertile ground for transatlantic cooperation on everything from reducing dependency on Chinese trade and investment to setting global norms and standards for the future. Yet, despite this convergence of views and interests, there is still no roadmap for how such cooperation should progress. This report outlines such an approach. It is based on the premise that the time is ripe for greater transatlantic cooperation on China. It also recognizes the comprehensive nature of the task at hand. Today’s controversies with China over trade, investment, technology, and global governance are all part of a larger competition between political systems and worldviews. The breadth of the challenge means that the United States and Europe must compete with China across multiple domains. This report lays out a roadmap for doing so, outlining concrete recommendations across the four sectors of technology, investment, trade, and global governance. By working together, the United States and Europe can pool the resources and leverage needed to push back against the CCP in these areas and develop preferred alternatives that advance strategic priorities for both sides of the Atlantic. Moreover, the strategies outlined in this report will also serve a second purpose: re-energizing the ailing relationship between Europe and the United States.
  • Topic: Security, International Cooperation, Transatlantic Relations, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Kristine Lee, Martijn Rasser, Joshua Fitt, Coby Goldberg
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The South Korean experience is an illustrative case study of digital entanglement with China. This paper focuses on South Korea’s 5G networks for the purposes of scoping, but the spotlight on telecommunications networks offers just one window into a broader trend of technology and economic interdependencies between Seoul and Beijing. In particular, the paper’s focus on 5G illuminates four central observations that could also apply to other technology areas: (1) the U.S.-China strategic competition has wedged South Korea between its most important ally and its largest trading partner; (2) geopolitical risk assessments are not top of mind in South Korea’s technology policymaking calculations; (3) the country’s political leadership largely defers to private industry on the use of Chinese equipment; and (4) South Korean privacy regulations remain relatively fluid and are evolving both to meet domestic pressures and to generate new market opportunities. These trends are evident in the history of South Korea’s economic entanglement with China and the risk of coercion carried with it. Ongoing entanglement with digital infrastructure—and 5G networks in particular—increases the potential for and reach of adverse economic statecraft by Beijing and will make it more difficult and costly to unravel.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Communications, Bilateral Relations, COVID-19, 5G
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Eric M. Brewer, Ilan Goldenberg, Joseph Rodgers, Maxwell Simon, Kaleigh Thomas
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The United States and the international community have been relatively successful at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, but there are new reasons to question whether this track record will last into the future. Working with partners, the United States has steadily built a framework of disincentives and barriers to prevent proliferation. These include: 1) international treaties and agreements that have erected legal, political, and normative barriers to the bomb; 2) U.S. security commitments to allies that dampen their own perceived need for nuclear weapons; and, 3) a set of tough penalties (e.g., sanctions) for those who get caught trying to build the bomb. In other words, the barriers to entry to the nuclear club are high, and those countries that want the ultimate weapon need to be willing to accept significant risks. This helps explain why, although many countries have explored or pursued nuclear weapons, only nine states have them today. But several trends are eroding the foundation on which this formidable set of barriers rests. These trends are rooted in, and being shaped by, changes to the nature and structure of the international system: namely, the decline of U.S. influence and its gradual withdrawal from the international order that it helped create and lead for more than 70 years, and the concurrent rise of a more competitive security environment, particularly among great powers. These trends (detailed below) will have three broad implications for proliferation and U.S. policy. First, they stand to increase pressures on countries to seek nuclear weapons or related capabilities as a hedge. Second, they will almost certainly challenge the U.S. ability to effectively wield the traditional “carrots and sticks” of nonproliferation and counterproliferation policy and dilute the effectiveness of those tools. Finally, they could increasingly pit U.S. nonproliferation goals against other policy objectives, forcing harder tradeoffs.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Geopolitics, Nonproliferation, Post Cold War
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Abigail Eineman
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The June edition of “Sanctions by the Numbers” illustrated a decade of U.S. sanctions policy by using heat maps to show the countries with the largest number of designations. Across both the Trump and Obama administrations, Iran was always at the top of the list. This edition of Sanctions by the Numbers explores Iran sanctions further, tracking how designations and delistings have evolved over time, the dozens of countries affected by Iran-related sanctions programs, and the top types of U.S. designations. The data add to the existing consensus that sanctions have an inverse relationship with Iran’s economic health, and designations have far outpaced delistings in the last three years as part of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Sanctions, Economy
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Kara Frederick
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating global trends in digital surveillance. Public health imperatives, combined with opportunism by autocratic regimes and authoritarian-leaning leaders, are expanding personal data collection and surveillance. This tendency toward increased surveillance is taking shape differently in repressive regimes, open societies, and the nation-states in between. China, run by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is leading the world in using technology to enforce social control, monitor populations, and influence behavior. Part of maximizing this control depends on data aggregation and a growing capacity to link the digital and physical world in real time, where online offenses result in brisk repercussions. Further, China is increasing investments in surveillance technology and attempting to influence the patterns of technology’s global use through the export of authoritarian norms, values, and governance practices. For example, China champions its own technology standards to the rest of the world, while simultaneously peddling legislative models abroad that facilitate access to personal data by the state. Today, the COVID-19 pandemic offers China and other authoritarian nations the opportunity to test and expand their existing surveillance powers internally, as well as make these more extensive measures permanent. Global swing states are already exhibiting troubling trends in their use of digital surveillance, including establishing centralized, government-held databases and trading surveillance practices with authoritarian regimes. Amid the pandemic, swing states like India seem to be taking cues from autocratic regimes by mandating the download of government-enabled contact-tracing applications. Yet, for now, these swing states appear responsive to their citizenry and sensitive to public agitation over privacy concerns. Open societies and democracies can demonstrate global surveillance trends similar to authoritarian regimes and swing states, including the expansion of digital surveillance in the name of public safety and growing private sector capabilities to collect and analyze data on individuals. Yet these trends toward greater surveillance still occur within the context of pluralistic, open societies that feature ongoing debates about the limits of surveillance. However, the pandemic stands to shift the debate in these countries from skepticism over personal data collection to wider acceptance. Thus far, the spectrum of responses to public surveillance reflects the diversity of democracies’ citizenry and processes.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Authoritarianism, Surveillance, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Richard Fontaine, Loren DeJonge Schulman
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: On matters of peace and war, virtually no one seems satisfied with Congress. Constitutionally coequal to the executive, the Congress often appears more an uneasy junior partner. During the past two decades, the executive branch has expanded its authority to launch, conduct, and conceal military activity. In response, Congress—despite its formal powers to declare war, appropriate funds, and organize the armed forces—has largely deferred, putting up more of a rhetorical fight than engaging in a deliberative effort to shape American wars. Congress, even lawmakers complain, postures more than it prescribes, overlooks more than it oversees, and passes time more than it passes laws. Conventional wisdom and political consultants offer congressmen good rationale: foreign policy does not typically drive elections, Americans are increasingly disconnected from both their military and the costs of war, and there are few political incentives to dig deeply into matters of war and peace. Today the “imperial presidency” is accepted as a given division of labor rather than seen as a counter-constitutional anomaly. And yet with the nation involved in military operations across multiple countries, and with debates about possible military interventions in Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela reaching the White House, congressional attention to the use of force should today be at a premium. The Founders were correct to vest national security decisionmaking in not only one branch of government, and history shows numerous examples of Congress positively influencing matters of war and peace. An inactive or indifferent legislature leaves power overconcentrated in the executive, while an engaged Congress may not just check presidential reach but can actively improve the conduct of American conflicts.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, National Security, Armed Forces
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ilan Goldenberg, Elisa Catalano Ewers, Kaleigh Thomas
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: It appears unlikely that Iran will engage in diplomatic negotiations with President Donald Trump’s administration before the U.S. elections. However, the international community may find Iran ready to consider a return to negotiations in 2021—regardless of the results in November—either because of Iran’s interest in engaging a Biden administration or in an effort to avoid four more years of the Trump administration’s maximum pressure campaign. This report lays out potential options for a new U.S. administration to engage Iran in 2021. Many of the ideas also can be adapted for a second term Trump administration as described at the end of this report.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Engagement
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Emma Moore, Kayla M. Williams, Zachary Jaynes
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: Aclose history of collaboration in national security and diplomacy between the United States and United Kingdom leads to many similarities between military personnel of both countries, both during and following service. These similarities mean both countries have much to learn from one another regarding best practices for supporting the military community broadly, despite differences in political systems, governance, and cultural norms. The United Kingdom’s veteran support landscape is sometimes considered behind that of the United States, in part due to the sector’s smaller size; however, the robust nature of the U.K.’s welfare state, combined with renewed engagement from the government, have led to significant progress in recent years. U.K. charities fill gaps in areas the government does not serve, while corporations look to recognize veteran skill sets and challenge existing societal narratives of service. The unique role of the Royal Family and Royal Foundation adds a nationwide focus on mental well-being with a key focus on the armed forces community. This landscape analysis provides an overview of support for veterans in the United Kingdom to better understand how the United States’ closest ally supports veterans from a government, charity, and corporate perspective. In addition to examining the efforts of each sector’s support for veterans, this analysis examines the status of veterans across the United Kingdom’s devolved nations.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, National Security, Military Affairs, Veterans
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Martijn Rasser, Ainikki Riikonen
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: Communication networks are the central nervous system of the 21st century economy. The fifth generation of wireless—5G—will be essential to and inseparable from all we do. In many ways, we are already there. What for most was an abstract concept became all too real during the COVID-19 crisis. The coronavirus pandemic has underscored the critical importance of communication networks: They are integral to our daily lives and our ability to function economically and as a society. Shutdowns of offices, schools, and stores have meant turning to apps to work, learn, and buy. Frontline medical workers and vaccine researchers have consulted colleagues via teleconference to get the latest insight and advice on combating the virus. Being connected means resilience, coping, surviving. Getting 5G right is all the more urgent. Next-generation 5G networks will enable telemedicine, self-driving cars, and a proliferation of Internet of Things devices to fuel the future digital economy. Secure, reliable 5G networks will be essential elements of national infrastructure. Policymakers in Australia, Japan, and Vietnam understood this early on and took decisive action to secure their 5G networks. U.S. officials, slower out of the gates, are now the loudest voice on the risks of having equipment from untrusted vendors in 5G networks. The spotlight is brightest on the risks that Huawei poses to national security, including the threat of espionage or disruption. Given the Chinese Communist Party’s ability to exercise control over Huawei, there is justifiable concern over data integrity on networks that deploy Huawei equipment. More serious is the potential to use 5G equipment as a vector to cripple critical infrastructure. Such risk is not only about communications—5G will be the backbone of controls needed for power grids, water supplies, and transportation infrastructure. Despite this, the United States has had only limited success convincing its allies to join it in banning Huawei. The United States has the opportunity to regain momentum by taking a fresh approach to 5G in the aftermath of the pandemic. In addition to the broader appreciation for the criticality of reliable communication networks, Beijing’s coronavirus cover-up and clunky attempts at soft power have hardened public opinion toward China around the world. The economic fallout of the pandemic will likely slow 5G deployments globally, curtailing the urgency with which many operators approached the issue. At the same time, the first commercial projects centered on technological alternatives to the predominant 5G approach are being deployed. This confluence of events presents the United States and like-minded countries an opening to promote an alternative approach that could lead to a paradigm shift in the industry: wireless infrastructure built on a modular architecture with open interfaces. A modular architecture allows an operator to choose multiple vendors for a range of offerings, rather than being locked in with a single large integrated vendor. Open interfaces—the ability of equipment from any vendor to work with that of another—make that possible. Such a shift means upending the industry status quo that is dominated by four telecommunications equipment providers: China’s Huawei, Finland’s Nokia, Sweden’s Ericsson, and South Korea’s Samsung. Whereas other proposed responses to the Huawei dilemma and the problematic current state of competition in the telecommunications industry fiddle at the margins, switching to an industry centered on open interfaces would change the game altogether. A restructured industry based on open interfaces would directly address the prevailing concerns over untrusted vendors such as Huawei and the broader inefficiencies of the industry. There are distinct advantages to be gained in security and interoperability, supply chain resiliency, probable cost savings, and the opportunity to stimulate much-needed competition in the sector. Taken together, these advantages do much to blunt Beijing’s industrial policies that have enabled Huawei’s predatory anti-competitive practices.
  • Topic: National Security, Science and Technology, Communications, COVID-19, 5G
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Carrie Cordero
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: As the United States nears a consequential November election in a charged political environment and society reels this year from a global pandemic, historic unemployment, and a summer of civic unrest and violence, the threat of malign foreign interference in the campaign season and election system looms. In 2016, policymakers and intelligence community leaders were reluctant to release information publicly regarding the activities of the Russian government intended to affect the election. This year, a new playbook is needed to ensure that the intelligence community, policymakers, and the public are in sync regarding transparency expectations about foreign threats to the election. The discussion that follows provides context—how intelligence transparency was addressed in the 2016 election, adjustments that were made for the 2018 midterms—and articulates responsibilities of the intelligence community versus the risks involved in greater transparency. The paper concludes with recommendations for transparency about election threats in order to protect against and mitigate ongoing foreign efforts to damage our stressed democracy.
  • Topic: Government, Intelligence, Elections, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Russia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Van Jackson
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: For the foreseeable future, America’s Northeast Asian allies Japan and South Korea must live in the shadow of a nuclear North Korea, whose capabilities they cannot match. During the Obama and Trump administrations, North Korea dramatically expanded and improved its ability to hold Japanese, South Korean, and even U.S. territory at risk with its nuclear and missile arsenal.1 Despite high-profile summitry and promises to the contrary, there is no sign that this imbalance will be rectified, and its continuation exacerbates regional risks and ally insecurity.2 The mounting North Korea threat is compounded by poor timing—U.S. policy has proven exceptionally erratic, unreliable, and risk-prone in recent years. The very existence of Japan and South Korea depends on strategies built around a partnership with the United States that has become shaky, and on faith in the competence of U.S. statecraft—which both countries are starting to perceive as a risk rather than a source of security. Ally perceptions of U.S. strategic incompetence generate real costs and risks for the United States and Northeast Asian security. If the United States continues to squander its deepest relationships in Asia, the allies could become rivals with each other, increase risks of nuclear instability, play a spoiler role in U.S. regional strategy, withhold basing and access rights to U.S. forces operating in the region, and potentially take independent aggressive actions against North Korea that unintentionally escalate to war.
  • Topic: Security, Nuclear Weapons, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Barrett Y. Bogue, Andrew Morse
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: A secondary education for service members, many of whom would otherwise have delayed enrollment or deemed the opportunity of a higher education unaffordable altogether. The commitment began in earnest in 1944 through the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, which provided federal benefits to veterans to defray the cost of unemployment, education, and purchasing a home. This landmark legislation established the GI Bill, led to a historic increase of veterans pursuing a degree, and effectively democratized higher education. America’s promise to service members and veterans in higher education remains vibrant through the 2017 Forever GI Bill, which made education benefits for military-connected students available for life. Nearly eight decades later, the GI Bill continues to pay dividends. Student veterans in college campuses across the country engage as some of the best-performing nontraditional students compared to other adult learners.1 Simultaneous to the GI Bill’s evolution, higher education also evolved with a distinct set of challenges in the 21st century, including a changing demography of prospective students, increasing out-of-pocket costs and decreasing state support, and growing skepticism on the value of a post-secondary degree. Service members and veterans who earned a degree though the GI Bill, or by other means, will choose to enter higher education as a career and continue to serve an important role leading, teaching, and mentoring the next generation of Americans. This report examines the connection between military service and veterans who work in higher education, and how they navigate profound change in the higher education landscape. The report also provides recommendations to explicitly target the recruitment of veterans into higher education leadership roles and support their careers. Higher education in America is at an inflection point. The rapidly changing demography of its prospective students, persistent increases in the out-of-pocket costs for an increasingly low- to middle-income student demographic, growing skepticism of the value of post-secondary attainment, and the compounding student debt owed by Americans place increasing pressure on the seams of our nation’s post-secondary educational infrastructure. The country must continue to address these challenges with a sense of urgency, and we must continue exploring new ways to approach solutions to these challenges. Developing a critical mass of adaptive leaders across organizations is critical to higher education’s success now and for generations to come. While military service provides a critical avenue for the development of skills and competencies required for success in higher education leadership, there is (1) an inadequate understanding by many in higher education, as in the general public, about the virtues of military service in forging the knowledge and skill profile required for higher education leadership roles; and (2) a gap in the literature and corresponding policy recommendations about pathways for service members and veterans into executive-level higher education leadership roles. Therefore, the purposes of this study are (1) to identify the connections between military service and higher education leadership competencies; and (2) offer recommendations for growing the number of service members and veterans who are positioned to assume leadership roles in higher education settings. Using a semi-structured qualitative interview design of currently serving higher education leaders and practitioners with prior military service, this paper identifies the reasons why veterans choose to work in higher education, captures the leadership skills and traits learned in the military that practically apply to their roles, identifies current challenges in higher education’s mission to serve students, and provides recommendations for recruiting more veterans into leadership roles.
  • Topic: Education, Military Affairs, Veterans
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Abigail Eineman
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: In February, CNAS launched Sanctions by the Numbers, a project to track U.S. sanctions designations and delistings. In this second installment, heat maps show the most heavily targeted states in three periods of time: over the course of the Obama administration from 2009–2017, the Trump administration from 2017–June 2020, and a snapshot of the past decade through June 2020. The maps rely on ten years of sanctions data published by the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Iran, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Carrie Cordero
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: In November 2002, 14 months after the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS or the department) was created by Congress to make America safer from terrorism.1 At the time, the policy focus was on international terrorism, in particular al Qaeda. Since then, not only has the terrorism landscape evolved—from al Qaeda and its affiliates to ISIS to the present increased attention to domestic terrorism linked to white supremacist violence2—but the scope and complexity of national security threats have evolved. The new department centralized border security, immigration enforcement, transportation security, emergency management, and critical infrastructure protection, plus additional functions, with an intent to protect against future terrorist attack. The fundamental activities of the department, however, have always been broader than terrorism. And over the years, attention to the department has quickly shifted depending on the critical events of the time, whether a natural disaster, such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005, or persistent cyberattacks and other malign cyberactivity since the mid-2000s, or the emergence of a global pandemic.3 Meanwhile, due to a variety of factors, the size and complexity of DHS’s law enforcement functions have grown, while recent attention has focused primarily on the border and immigration functions. The department is arguably the most operational agency in the federal government in terms of its routine activities that affect and directly touch millions of people each day. These varying and disparate missions across the department are focused domestically and therefore require substantial attention to whether and how they are carried out in accordance with law and respect for constitutional protections. This report, issued as part of a Center for a New American Security (CNAS) project4 on enhancing DHS oversight and accountability, posits that 18 years into the department’s existence, the functions of border security and immigration enforcement, as well as the law enforcement functions of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in particular, have grown disproportionately large in size and broad in scope, without the necessary oversight and accountability structures that must accompany such activities.5 And DHS’s border and immigration functions are under tremendous strain as they are tasked with increased policy directives, humanitarian challenges on the southern border, intense political pressure, and growing public scrutiny about these functions. The department is in severe need of legislative attention and policy coordination. If it does not reform to address the issues identified in this report, it is likely the department will face calls for partial or full dismantlement under a future administration.6 Such a result would undo nearly 20 years of effort to better protect the nation from terrorism and emerging homeland threats, and risk returning to a pre-9/11 era of dis-jointed homeland security coordination.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Homeland Security, Accountability, Oversight
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Daniel Kliman, Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Kristine Lee, Joshua Fitt, Carisa Nietsche
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The 2016 U.S. presidential election and the 2018 and 2020 Taiwanese local and presidential elections crystallized that Russia and China are using digital interference to shape the contest between democracies and autocracies. While foreign information operations are time-tested methods of authoritarian influence, the digital space has increased the scope and speed with which these operations can be waged. Although there is no concrete evidence to suggest that Beijing and Moscow explicitly coordinate their information operations, the two countries are increasingly finding common cause as their interests align on a number of issues and in strategic regions.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Science and Technology, Authoritarianism, Digital Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia
  • Author: Elizabeth Rosenberg, Peter Harrell, Ashley Feng
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The United States and China have long used coercive economic measures to advance both economic and foreign policy objectives. In recent years, however, both countries have turned to coercive economic measures as mainstream instruments of foreign policy and national security policy, and increasingly have deployed coercive economic measures against each other. For the United States, China’s economic scale and global interconnections make it a fundamentally different type of target for coercive economic measures than the comparatively smaller and less sophisticated economies that have been primary targets of U.S. economic coercion in the past. The United States cannot simply isolate China from the global economy. Instead, it must adopt a more strategic focus on limiting Chinese actions in areas significant to U.S. national security and shoring up economic and technology arenas where the United States maintains lasting leverage. Over the past several years, the United States has deployed an array of coercive economic measures against China. The most prominent of these have been the tariffs on approximately two-thirds of U.S. imports from China. The tariffs remain largely in place despite implementation of the Phase One trade deal that the United States and China signed in January 2020. But the United States also has developed and deployed an increasingly sophisticated set of other coercive economic tools that will play a prominent role in U.S.-China relations over the years ahead, regardless of whether the United States and China fully implement the Phase One deal and reach a broader Phase Two trade agreement. Those other coercive economic tools include export controls, restrictions on U.S. imports to secure U.S. supply chains, heightened scrutiny of Chinese investment in the United States, sanctions, and stepped-up law enforcement measures against Chinese intellectual property (IP) theft and other Chinese activities in the United States. This expanding set of measures serves a broadening array of U.S. policy goals, including economic objectives, foreign policy goals, and the maintenance of America’s technological edge. The U.S. record of success in the use of these coercive economic measures has been mixed. While tariffs and other measures have succeeded in putting some macroeconomic pressure on China, they have not extracted fundamental concessions from Beijing. Targeted sanctions and law enforcement measures similarly have had economic impacts on some Chinese companies, but other Chinese companies have demonstrated an ability to weather U.S. economic coercion. To be effective in translating economic coercion into policy change by China, the United States needs to better integrate its coercive measures with each other and with other policies, better signal intentions and escalation, more rigorously assess impacts and costs, and galvanize allied support and coordinated action. For its part, China appears to recognize a balancing act between limiting economic ties with foreign partners in some domains and maintaining them in others. China has sought to distance certain Chinese economic sectors, particularly high-tech manufacturing, from the United States in some areas, investing heavily in domestic capacity development. In other areas where China must rely on foreign partners for technology, IP, or manufacturing, or where China does not appear to see a clear interest in severing trade, Beijing has sought to keep trade and investment flows moving in an unencumbered fashion. As for the United States, this is a dynamic policy environment.
  • Topic: Security, Bilateral Relations, Economy, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ilan Goldenberg, Nicholas Heras, Kaleigh Thomas, Jennie Matuschak
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and especially since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, Iran has become highly proficient in using its surrogates and proxies across the Middle East as a tool to achieve its interests while avoiding direct conflict with the United States. Successive U.S. presidents have sought options for pushing back against this Iranian strategy but have struggled to find approaches that could deter Iran’s actions or degrade its capabilities. In most cases U.S. administrations have been hesitant to respond at all, for fear of starting a larger conflict. The recent killing of Qassim Soleimani represents the opposite problem, in which the United States and Iran came unnecessarily close to a much larger war. In contrast, Israel’s “campaign between the wars” (the Hebrew acronym is mabam) against Iran and Iranian-backed groups in Syria has been one of the most successful military efforts to push back against Iran in the “gray zone.” Since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, and especially since early 2017, Israel has conducted more than 200 airstrikes inside Syria against more than 1,000 targets linked to Iran and it’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force (IRGCQF), and against IRGC-QF backed groups such as the Lebanese Hezbollah. This campaign has slowed Iran’s military buildup in Syria while avoiding a broader regional conflagration that would have been damaging to Israel’s interests.1 This study examines Israel’s mabam campaign and asks what lessons the United States can draw and how they may be applied to future U.S. actions in gray zone conflicts, both against Iran and more broadly.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Military Affairs, Conflict, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Israel, Syria
  • Author: Daniel Kliman, Ben Fitzgerald, Kristine Lee, Joshua Fitt
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: This report presents a blueprint for a community of technology innovation and protection anchored by America and its allies. Unless the United States builds this community—an “alliance innovation base”—it will steadily lose ground in the contest with China to ascend the commanding technological heights of the 21st century. Given that technology will increasingly determine future military advantage, underpin economic prosperity, and function as a tool for promoting liberal and illiberal visions of domestic governance, the stakes could not be higher. To compete, China is leveraging its formidable scale—whether measured in terms of research and development (R&D) expenditures, data sets, scientists and engineers, venture capital, or the reach of its leading technology companies. The only way for the United States to tip the scale back in its favor is to deepen cooperation with allies. The global diffusion of innovation also places a premium on aligning U.S. and ally efforts to protect technology. Unless coordinated with allies, tougher U.S. investment screening and export control policies, for example, will feature major seams that Beijing can exploit. America’s current approach to allies on technology innovation and protection remains a work in progress. In recent years, animated by concerns about China, the United States has made a concerted effort to step up engagement with allies in both areas. Existing mechanisms for deepening innovation with allies include technology scouting programs, multilateral cooperative frameworks, rapid innovation initiatives, and bilateral projects. However, these mechanisms at times lack sufficient resourcing, move too slowly, or feature rigid constraints on participation. U.S. instruments for working with allies on technology protection also contain major points of weakness. Multilateral export control regimes, though inclusive, are ponderous. The extraterritorial reach of U.S. export control laws can generate unintended obstacles to technology collaboration with allies. Bilateral and minilateral consultations on protection lack positive incentives to motivate allies to incur immediate costs such as forgoing technology sector investments from China.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Governance, Economy, Alliance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Carisa Nietsche
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The rise of populism in Europe and the United States is well documented. Although studies may disagree about the relative importance of populism’s drivers, there is broad consensus that rising inequality, declining bonds to established traditional parties, increasing salience of identity politics, and economic grievance have played a role in fueling populism’s rise. Although populism is a symptom of democracy’s larger problems, the strategies and tactics populist parties and leaders use also provide their own, direct threat to liberal democracy. Many of the tactics that populist leaders use weaken democratic institutions and constraints on executive power. Populism is also detrimental to democracy because it exacerbates political polarization, which makes it hard for democracy to effectively function. As societies grow more polarized, people become willing to tolerate abuses of power and sacrifice democratic principles if doing so advances their side’s interests and keeps the other side out of power.1 The polarization that populism fuels, in other words, increases the risk of democratic decline. This report offers recommendations for combating populism. It translates key findings from cutting-edge academic research in the political science, political psychology, sociology, and communications disciplines into practical, evidence-based recommendations. The first set of recommendations is intended to equip political parties, politicians, and candidates to create a political context more conducive to the success of liberal democratic actors. Research shows that context matters—although many people may hold populist attitudes, these attitudes must be activated by the political context to translate into votes for populist leaders.
  • Topic: Politics, Democracy, Populism, Liberalism, Polarization
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ely Ratner, Daniel Kliman, Susanna V. Blume, Rush Doshi, Chris Dougherty, Richard Fontaine, Peter Harrell, Martijn Rasser, Elizabeth Rosenberg, Eric Sayers, Daleep Singh, Paul Scharre, Loren DeJonge Schulman, ​Neil Bhatiya, Ashley Feng, Joshua Fitt, Megan Lamberth, Kristine Lee, Ainikki Riikonen
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The United States and China are locked in strategic competition over the future of the Indo-Pacific—the most populous, dynamic, and consequential region in the world. At stake are competing visions for the rules, norms, and institutions that will govern international relations in the decades to come.1 The U.S. government aspires toward a “free and open” Indo-Pacific, defined by respect for sovereignty and the independence of nations, peaceful resolution of disputes, free and fair trade, adherence to international law, and greater transparency and good governance.2 For the United States, successful realization of this regional order would include strong U.S. alliances and security partnerships; a military able to operate throughout the region, consistent with international law; U.S. firms with access to leading markets, and benefiting from updated technology standards, investment rules, and trade agreements; U.S. participation in effective regional and international institutions; and the spread of democracy and individual freedoms in the context of an open information environment and vibrant civil society.3 By contrast, China is driving toward a more closed and illiberal future for the Indo-Pacific, core aspects of which would undermine vital U.S. interests.4 Key features of China-led order would include the People’s Liberation Army controlling the South and East China Seas; regional countries sufficiently coerced into acquiescing to China’s preferences on military, economic, and diplomatic matters; an economic order in which Beijing sets trade and investment rules in its favor, with dominance over leading technologies, data, and standards; and Beijing with de facto rule over Taiwan and agenda-setting power over regional institutions. The order would be further characterized by weak civil society, a dearth of independent media, and the gradual spread of authoritarianism, reinforced by the proliferation of China’s high-tech surveillance state. The net result would be a less secure, less prosperous United States that is less able to exert power and influence in the world.5 Ultimately, the competition between the United States and China in the Indo-Pacific is a contest over which of these futures will come closer to fruition, even as neither is likely to attain in its entirety. In the two years since the 2017 National Security Strategy and 2018 National Defense Strategy aptly identified this competition over the regional order in Asia, the U.S. government has taken initial steps toward its goal of a free and open region. On balance, however, critical areas of U.S. policy remain inconsistent, uncoordinated, underresourced, and—to be blunt—uncompetitive and counterproductive to advancing U.S. values and interests. This independent assessment—mandated by the U.S. Congress in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act—is intended to help close the considerable gap between the current administration’s stated aspirations for a free and open Indo-Pacific and the actual implementation of policies to advance that vision. Specifically, Congress called for “an assessment of the geopolitical conditions in the Indo-Pacific region that are necessary for the successful implementation of the National Defense Strategy,” with a particular focus on how to “support United States military requirements for forward defense, assured access, extensive forward basing, and alliance and partnership formation and strengthening in such region.”6 This report examines how the U.S. government as a whole, not just the Department of Defense, can realize these outcomes. Although the focus of this assessment is on the Indo-Pacific, it is critical to underscore that the China challenge is a global phenomenon, and many of the actions recommended in this report should be taken to bolster U.S. competitiveness beyond the region. Consistent with the bipartisan mission of the Center for a New American Security, the report’s authors have collectively served on both sides of the aisle in Congress and in the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump at the White House, State Department, Defense Department, Treasury Department, Central Intelligence Agency, and Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Included herein are nearly a hundred specific and actionable policy recommendations across critical vectors of American competitiveness in the Indo-Pacific. Before turning to these recommendations, the remainder of this section describes six core principles that undergird the assessment and should form the foundations of U.S. strategy in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Partnerships, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Patrick M. Cronin, Ryan Neuhard
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: China’s bid for ascendancy remains anchored in the South China Sea and surrounding Southeast Asian countries. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) deems it economically and militarily vital to dominate the resources and sea lines of communication of a body of water twice the size of Alaska. Achieving this goal requires tethering neighboring countries into Beijing’s ambit while making the existing ruleset more favorable to China and displacing the dominant power behind the existing regional order. Some may find comfort in describing the scenario underway as a return to a “China-centered” rather than “Sino-centric” region.1 However, an authoritarian China’s coercive attempts to wield hegemonic control of the South China Sea threatens the sovereignty of Southeast Asian states and international freedom of the seas, both of which are of fundamental national interest to the United States. Yet the South China Sea and Southeast remain the least defended and most bountiful region susceptible to Chinese predations and inducements. The CCP leadership is obsessed with the idea that outside forces intend to contain China’s development, foment internal unrest, and prevent it from retaking what it considers to be its rightful place center stage in regional and global affairs. In partial response to deep-seated insecurities and renewed great-power ambitions, Xi Jinping and the CCP are in the process of attempting to exercise control over the entire nine-dash line claim covering the vast majority of the South China Sea and to turn Southeast Asia into a latter-day tributary system. CCP propaganda casts China’s quest for control over maritime Asia as an inexorable outcome of China’s rise and America’s decline. Curiously, the only government speaking seriously about “stopping” China is Beijing, suggesting that its policies are influenced more by subjective internal fears than by objective external realities. China wants nothing to stop it from consolidating its maximalist historic claims, from denying the United States the ability to intervene in regional conflicts, and from dismantling America’s postwar alliance system.
  • Topic: Leadership, Economy, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South China Sea
  • Author: Carrie Cordero, David Thaw
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: Cybersecurity oversight is due for a reboot. This paper explores the need for refreshed congressional oversight of cybersecurity. After laying out why cybersecurity oversight presents special challenges, this paper suggests that the disparate nature of the cybersecurity policymaking legal framework is mismatched to the nature of the cybersecurity problem, resulting in difficulty legislating in this space. It then provides two key recommendations to guide a congressional cybersecurity oversight reboot. Cybersecurity is a broad challenge spanning many disciplines and industries. This paper argues that the current “patchwork” legal framework is ill suited to address cybersecurity questions either for legislative oversight or effective policymaking. The paper provides an overview of the nature and scope of the cybersecurity problem, with a focus on how the complexity of the field affects congressional oversight activities. Congress has been conducting a substantial amount of oversight in this area in recent years. Those efforts, however, have not yet resulted in legislative actions that have demonstrably improved national cybersecurity. This paper seeks to aid the effort to craft legal authorities that deal with an increasingly complex set of cyberthreats. This short exposition provides a path to rebooting Congress’ approach to cybersecurity oversight in a way that would allow these issues to be addressed more comprehensively.
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: Global Focus