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  • Author: James Andrew Lewis
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Recent legislative changes call for enhanced scrutiny on potential transfers of “emerging and foundational technologies.” These are broadly defined as technologies essential to U.S. national security. The Congressional intent is for agencies to develop a more specific list, with robotics and artificial intelligence as primary concerns. Developing this list raises several issues. These include how to determine the military utility of an emerging technology, how to control the diffusion of the technology, and how to manage the risks of increased control for American innovation. Enhancing controls on the transfer of emerging technologies is necessary for several reasons. First, the U.S. finds itself in a contest with China. China intends to eventually displace the U.S as a global leader in technology, part of its larger effort to expands its influence and power. China is a technological rival of a kind the U.S. has never had before, given the deep interconnections between the two economies. China is still dependent on the West for advanced technology and uses a combination of techniques to acquire it. The 2015 Obama-Xi agreement on commercial cyber espionage attempted to address the problem, but China now ignores that agreement. In this environment, strengthening oversight of technology transfers from the U.S. and its allies to China is essential. In particular, new rules are needed to review technology transfers through co-production, joint ventures, or intangible exports, as these have been a major source of China’s access to technology. Second, current controls on technology transfers do not adequately protect emerging and foundational technologies. The current technology transfer control system is too close to its Cold War roots. Thresholds were set by asking what was the state of the art, how close our Soviet competitor was to this, and whether a technology was “controllable” or if it had become a commodity or was widely available from foreign sources. These are no longer the right questions to ask. The approach needed now is whether we want to transfer a technology to China and whether an effort to prevent this would do more harm than good to America’s own technological capabilities. This calls the whole complex structure of precise control thresholds into question. Modernizing export controls will be difficult, but the proposed rulemaking offers an opportunity to begin the process of revision. Export controls have their background in the 20th Century, when two bifurcated economic blocs were in competition and where thresholds for controls could be set with a degree of precision. This is no longer the case. Attempting to layer a 20th century export control regime over the new dynamics of global trade and innovation will not adequately protect emerging technologies. Reform will necessarily be an iterative process, part of a larger restructuring of export controls for a new international environment. A key point to bear in mind is that since China is still dependent on advanced Western technology (and this is an unlikely change in the near future), access to western technology should be used to gain leverage in talks to change China’s aggressively mercantilist policies. This will be difficult, and it will take time, but a failure to confront China and bring about change will lead to the outcomes that technology controls seek to avoid. The goal is not to defeat or contain China, but to bring its practices in line with international expectations in ways that allow commercial relationships to continue without risk to national security.
  • Topic: Security, Industry, Emerging Technology
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Melissa Dalton
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Like it or not, countries beset by instability from terrorist organizations or contested by state-based adversaries will continue to pose national security challenges to the United States. In the face of these challenges and given political and budgetary constraints at home, the United States must be more selective in how it scopes and executes efforts to consolidate gains after military operations and build institutional resiliency against adversaries. The Trump administration released its Stabilization Assistance Review (SAR) framework on June 19, 2018, which is a strategic document to guide U.S. government efforts to maximize the effectiveness of stabilizing conflict-affected areas. Following the large-scale reconstruction efforts of the early 2000s in Iraq and Afghanistan, the SAR recognizes changing geopolitical realities and U.S. domestic political and budgetary constraints that will shape future stabilization efforts. This interagency framework, co-produced by the Department of State (DoS), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Department of Defense (DoD) provided the first-ever U.S. government unified definition of stabilization, recognized as an “inherently political endeavor involving an integrated civilian-military process to create conditions where locally legitimate authorities and systems can peaceably manage conflict and prevent a resurgence of violence.”2 The SAR defined roles for the key agencies involved in providing stabilization assistance to foreign countries. DoS is designated as the overall lead for stabilization efforts, formulating the political strategy. USAID is intended to be the lead implementor for non-security stabilization assistance, bringing considerable technical expertise. The SAR specifies that DoD is a supporting element in providing security-related stabilization assistance in support of civilian-led efforts. Other U.S. government departments and agencies may also play roles in stabilization under this organizational rubric. The SAR also highlighted the intended short-term nature of stabilization efforts, typically lasting between one to five years, agile, and adaptive to host country needs. Furthermore, the SAR underscored the need to coordinate and burden-share with allies and multilateral institutions in bolstering support for locally legitimate actors on the ground. The SAR rightly responds to U.S. taxpayer fatigue regarding previous U.S. reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan by focusing on cost-effectiveness and allied support for future U.S. foreign assistance programs. However, stabilization efforts should also be placed in a broader context. Conflict in the twenty-first century has become increasingly localized in nature and often results in longer, more violent clashes between state and non-state actors. It is also characterized by state-based competitors, which can exploit localized conflict and undermine the institutions of allies and partners. Indeed, given the emphasis the Trump administration has placed on prioritizing great power competition in both the U.S. National Security and Defense Strategies, future stabilization policies also need to account for competition with U.S. adversaries such as Russia and China.3 Traditional conflict phases are also melding together, such that stabilization operations may well take place during active conflict than following a ceasefire or temporary cessation of hostilities and share strong characteristics with preventive activities. Planning for stabilization should be required at the outset of any military operation, reevaluated as the environment shifts during operations, and deployed in parallel as conditions permit.
  • Topic: Political stability, Conflict, Peace, Strategic Stability
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The United States has now been continuously at war for more than seventeen years. It is still fighting an active war in Afghanistan, has yet to fully defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq – much less establish a state of lasting security in either country – and is playing a role in low level conflicts against extremist and terrorists in many other parts of the world. The U.S. government, however, has never developed a convincing method of reporting on the cost of the wars, and its estimates are a confusing morass of different and conflicting Departmental, Agency, and other government reporting that leave major gaps in key areas during FY2001-FY2019. It has never provided useful forecasts of future cost, instead providing empty "placeholder" numbers or none. It has failed to find any useful way to tie the cost estimates it does release to its level of military and civil activity in each conflict or found any way to measure the effectiveness of its expenditures or tie them to a credible strategy to achieve some form of victory. The result is a national embarrassment and a fundamental failure by the Executive Branch and Congress to produce the transparency and public debate and review that are key elements of a responsible government and democracy.
  • Topic: Security, Military Strategy, Budget, Military Spending
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Will Todman
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The United States government can neither engender new states nor prevent them from coming into being, but it does possess a range of policy tools to influence the trajectory of new or aspiring states. While U.S. history creates a certain amount of empathy for self-determination groups, as a general rule the U.S. government views most independence movements skeptically. This is appropriate, in part because few such movements are viable. Economies are small or fragile (or both), the cause enjoys limited internal support, or the forces arrayed against it are too massive. In addition, the United States is tied diplomatically to some 190 countries around the world, and it usually privileges intergovernmental ties over those with non-governmental groups. Supporting secession not only would threaten U.S. relations with countries fighting U.S.-backed movements, but also other countries that feared that the United States might come to support secessionists elsewhere. For the United States, some sort of decentralization or autonomy arrangement is often a less costly option. It is also more agreeable to partner governments and reduces the risk of regional instability. However, exceptions can occur when secessionist movements take root in countries where the United States has more difficult relations, or where repression of minority groups or some other humanitarian factor weighs heavily on the scale.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Non State Actors, Governance, Self Determination, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Will Todman
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: When President Trump declared on December 19 that U.S. troops in Syria were “all coming back and coming back now,” it plunged the future of the East of the country into uncertainty.1 Dynamics in Syria were already shifting against the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration (AA) in Northeast Syria, as threats from Turkey and the regime increased. The impending withdrawal of U.S. forces eliminates the AA’s main source of leverage over the Assad regime and increases its vulnerability to the Turkish invasion President Erdogan has threatened. Scrambling to avoid conflict, AA officials have turned to Russia to mediate a political deal with President Assad, hoping to restore regime control to Syria’s eastern borders in exchange for self-administration.2 However, the lack of clarity over the timeline of the withdrawal means the United States maintains important influence in eastern Syria.3 Shaping the outcome of the Kurdish question at this critical juncture and preventing a new conflict in Northeast Syria are among the few remaining positive steps it can take in Syria. Although the Kurdish issue seems tangential to U.S. interests, the United States should invest in its diplomatic and military tools to facilitate a limited autonomy settlement in Northeast Syria when the area is formally reintegrated into Assad’s territory. To do so, the United States should work to discourage potential spoilers to such a deal and then forge an international coalition to act as guarantors to the agreement. Failing to secure an autonomy settlement could sow the seeds of long-lasting instability in Northeast Syria. The experience of autonomy has fanned the flames of Kurdish self-determination, and although the position of Syrian Kurds is now precarious, they are nonetheless stronger and more united than they ever have been. Throughout the conflict, they have won freedoms which Damascus long denied them and built a formidable army: the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) reportedly numbers over 60,000 troops.4 Such self-determination movements do not flare out so easily. A new CSIS edited volume, Independence Movements and Their Aftermath: Self-Determination and the Struggle for Success,” shows that from Bangladesh to East Timor, governments’ attempts to curb a minority’s rights have often accelerated their push for independence.5 A U.S. abandonment of Syrian Kurds without facilitating a negotiated settlement could therefore ignite another bloody, long-term struggle for self-determination in the Middle East, with wide-reaching regional implications.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Governance, Self Determination, Settlements, Foreign Interference
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria, North America, Kurdistan, United States of America
  • Author: Kathleen H. Hicks, Andrew Philip Hunter, Mark F. Cancian, Todd Harrison, Seamus P. Daniels
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Expectations have been building for the FY 2020 defense budget request, a budget that acting secretary of defense Shanahan has called the “masterpiece.” While the administration’s FY 2019 defense budget of $716 billion is fully funded through the remainder of the current fiscal year, a surprising number of statements on defense spending from the White House over the past several months have generated significant discussion and uncertainty around the FY 2020 request, calling into question whether or not it will be a masterpiece after all. In addition to waiting for the final topline figure, questions remain over how the budget will be composed, whether its priorities align with those of the National Defense Strategy (NDS), and how much detail it provides on the administration’s plans for national security space reorganization. The request also comes in the leadup to the debate over raising the Budget Control Act (BCA) budget caps for FY 2020 and FY 2021. As the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) works on finalizing the request, experts from the CSIS International Security Program outline what to look for in the FY 2020 defense budget below.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Budget
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Gabriel Coll, Andrew Philip Hunter, Robert Karlen
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The U.S. military’s vertical lift fleet of helicopters and tiltrotors is aging. With the exception of V-22 Osprey, no completely new aircraft designs have been introduced since the 1980s. Even the V-22 made its first test flight back in the 1980s. And the U.S. Army, which has the largest helicopter fleet and traditionally takes the lead on vertical lift innovation, has not made substantial investments in Research & Development since the cancellation of RAH-66 Comanche. Today, there are ambitious plans to modernize the entire vertical lift fleet. However, much of the investment path ahead remains unclear. To make informed plans about the future, it is important first to understand how the United States arrived at its current state through past investments.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Air Force
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Andrew Philip Hunter
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Economics scholars and policymakers have rung alarm bells about the increasing threat of consolidation within industrial sectors. This paper examines the importance of industrial concentration in U.S. defense acquisition in two ways: first, a direct relationship between concentration and performance outcomes; and second, a mediating relationship, where concentration influences performance through reduced competition for defense acquisition. The study created a large contract dataset incorporating economic statistics on industrial sectors and analyzed it using multilevel logit models. The study finds that subsector concentration correlates with greater rates of termination. Contrary to the hypothesis, competition is associated with higher rates of termination, and only single-offer competition is significantly associated with lower rates of cost ceiling breaches. Taken together, the results are consistent with the literature on the risk of concentration’s connection with market power but also suggest that the mechanisms of competition are worthy of future study.
  • Topic: Monopoly, Private Sector, Industry, Defense Industry
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Judd Devermont
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It is election season again in sub-Saharan Africa. Roughly every five years, the region faces a tidal wave of elections. In previous cycles, starting in the mid-1990s, the outcome was generally predictable. The ruling party leveraged its considerable advantages—including access to state resources—to secure another term. If the incumbent party rigged the poll, international monitors easily spotted the fraud and strenuously objected, even if to little effect. For the past two decades, five out of every six elections have produced the same result. This next batch of some two dozen elections will be different. A combination of demographic, technological, and geostrategic developments is disrupting the region’s electoral landscape. African leaders, opposition, and publics are adapting and writing a new playbook in the process. From street protests and parallel vote counts to election hacking and internet shutdowns, sub-Saharan African politics are becoming more competitive and more unpredictable. The case for democracy and improving the quality of elections is not simply a moral or altruistic one. U.S. national security objectives, including promoting prosperity and stability, are more achievable in democratic systems. Autocratic regimes, in contrast, worsen corruption, undercut sound economic management, and fail to produce long- term growth. Indeed, recent research indicates that Africa’s democracies grow at a faster rate than its autocracies, and this is more pronounced among countries that have been democracies for longer.1 Moreover, historically, democracies rarely have gone to war with one another. If the United States wants to advance its broad objectives in the region, it will need to reconceptualize its investments, partnerships, and interventions regarding elections.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Elections, Democracy, Election Interference
  • Political Geography: Africa, North America, United States of America, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author: J. Stephen Morrison
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: As President Trump and Kim Jong-un meet for their second summit in Hanoi, will there be serious consideration given to what concrete actions can be taken to protect and advance a health and humanitarian agenda that can directly benefit North Korea’s impoverished majority and reduce the threat of a runaway tuberculosis (TB) outbreak? Perhaps. Certainly, let’s hope so. There is much that can be done.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Health, Poverty, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The European Trilateral Track 2 Nuclear Dialogues, organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in partnership with the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and the Fondation pourla Recherche Stratégique (FRS), has convened senior nuclear policy experts from the United Kingdom, France, and the United States (P3) for the past ten years to discuss nuclear deterrence, arms control, and nonproliferation policy issues and to identify areas of consensus among the three countries. The majority of the experts are former U.S., UK, and French senior officials; the others are well-known academics in the field. Since the Dialogues’ inception, high-level officials from all three governments have also routinely joined the forum and participated in the discussions. The Dialogues have been unique in bringing U.S., UK, and French representatives into a trilateral forum for discussing nuclear policy. The United States, United Kingdom, and France hold common values and principles directed toward a shared purpose of global peace and security, as well as an understanding of their respective roles as responsible stewards of the nuclear order. Their sustained engagement will thus, irrespective of political shifts in any of the three countries, remain unique in the context of international alliances and partnerships and essential into the foreseeable future. In 2018, the group’s discussion addressed a range of issues in the Euro-Atlantic security environment and beyond, prompting agreement among the group’s nongovernmental participants to issue the following statement reflecting the consensus views of the undersigned. All signatories agree to this statement in their personal capacity, which may not represent the views of their respective organizations.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, France, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The analysis concludes that the sudden breakdown in the latest round of U.S.-Korean nuclear arms control talks in Vietnam should scarcely come as a surprise to anyone. Both sides sought too much too soon and did so despite a long history of previous failures. Heads of state engaged before their staffs had reached a clear compromise and did so seeking goals the other leader could not accept. It is not clear that an agreement was reachable at this point in time, but each side's search for its "best" ensured that the two sides could not compromise on the "good." This failure sent yet another warning that agreements like the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear arms agreement with Iran that offers major progress in limiting a nation's nuclear weapons efforts can be far better than no agreement, and of the danger in letting the perfect become the enemy of the good. The failed U.S. negotiations with Korea sends a warning that any set of compromises that preserves Iran's compliance with the JCPOA, and creates a structure where negotiation can continue, will be better than provoking a crisis with Iran that can end in no agreement at all and alienate America's European allies in the process.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Denuclearization, JCPOA
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Seth G. Jones
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: One of the most significant—and most disturbing—aspects of the Mueller report is the confirmation that Russia attempted to influence the 2016 election, based on the Special Counsel’s exhaustive collection and review of intelligence. This campaign by a foreign adversary represents a serious threat to U.S. national security and is reminiscent of Moscow’s actions during the Cold War. As this CSIS Brief highlights, Moscow has long conducted an “active measures” campaign against the United States, including trying to manipulate U.S. domestic politics. U.S. policymakers now need a forceful response to Russia’s intelligence campaign.
  • Topic: Intelligence, Law, Elections, Election Interference , Rigged Elections
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Tom Karako, Wes Rumbaugh
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Just over a year ago, then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan announced that the 2020 defense budget would be the “masterpiece” that would finally align Pentagon spending with the new direction of the National Defense Strategy.1 The release of the new budget follows the January 2019 release of the Missile Defense Review, which laid out the administration’s vision of how U.S. missile defense policy, programs, and posture should be adapted to contend with more challenging missile threats in an era of great power competition.2 At the review’s release, President Trump declared the “beginning of a new era in our missile defense program,” setting a goal to “detect and destroy any missile launched against the United States—anywhere, anytime, anyplace.”3 Unfortunately, neither the modest language of the Missile Defense Review nor the activities and funding levels in the proposed 2020 budget come anywhere close to achieving that goal. They specifically lack the programmatic and budgetary muscle movements to contribute meaningfully to overall U.S. deterrence and defense goals in relation to Russia and China. The Missile Defense Review nominally widens the scope of missile defense policy from a focus on ballistic missiles to countering the full spectrum of missile threats. Yet these new policy and budget proposals remain remarkably consistent with the program of record that preexisted the National Defense Strategy. Apart from steps within the services for incremental improvements to air defenses and some studies on countering hypersonic glide vehicles, the focus remains on the limited ballistic missile threats posed by otherwise weak rogue regimes.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Budget, Missile Defense
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Sarah Ladislaw, Jesse Barnett
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The CSIS Energy Program conducted research, commissioned papers, held a workshop, and developed this report on the changing role of energy in the U.S. economy. The purpose is twofold: (1) improve understanding of how energy impacts the U.S. economy at multiple levels; and (2) evaluate the performance of policies designed to create economic opportunity in the energy sector.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Mark Sobel
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Barack Obama administration’s efforts to secure Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), in conjunction with advancing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), brought into focus a congressional push to associate currency provisions with U.S. trade agreements. Since that time, discussions on the association of currency provisions with trade deals have gained momentum and become a feature of U.S. foreign exchange policy, especially under the Donald Trump administration. What is the historical context for including currency provisions alongside or as part of trade deals in U.S. exchange rate policy? What has actually been done? Is including currency provisions alongside or in trade deals a good idea? How should this be best managed?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Exchange Rate Policy, Trans-Pacific Partnership
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The economic consequences of large-scale disease outbreaks can be enormous: pandemics could cause $570 billion per year in average economic losses over the coming decades. Health security threats have an especially destructive impact on development investments and GDP in low-income and lower-middle-income countries (LICs and LMICs): the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in West Africa wiped out nearly five years of existing investments in the region, gravely setting back the region’s future development prospects. By contrast, upgrading countries’ preparedness is relatively inexpensive and affordable; recent data demonstrates most countries would need to spend approximately $0.50-$1.50 per person per year to get an acceptable level of epidemic preparedness. The financing gap for preparedness is one of the starkest problems in health security, especially among LICs and LMICs. That gap is estimated at $4.5 billion per year. Investments in preparedness are cost-effective and affordable, but low-income and lower-middle-income country governments continue to underinvest at dangerously low levels. These governments bear lead responsibility for addressing financing gaps, but external funding can be catalytic. At present, there is no financing mechanism and no adequate incentive structure to motivate governments in high-risk countries to invest in preparedness, particularly when those investments compete with more visible priorities such as education, housing, transport infrastructure, and other pressing health needs. As a consequence, countries remain ill-prepared and vulnerable to the persistent threat of pandemics and large-scale disease outbreaks. The World Bank Group’s International Development Association (IDA) replenishment takes place every three years and presents a choice opportunity to make adjustments that reflect important emerging priorities. In the current IDA19 replenishment, stakeholders can take a major step towards closing the preparedness financing gap by incentivizing $1 billion or more per year in preparedness investments in LICs and LMICs.
  • Topic: Security, Health, Multilateralism, Public Health
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Todd Harrison, Kaitlyn Johnson, Thomas G. Roberts
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: While the vulnerabilities of U.S. national security space systems are often discussed publicly, the progress other nations are making in counterspace systems is not as readily accessible. Space Threat Assessment 2019 reviews the open-source information available on the counterspace capabilities that can threaten U.S. space systems. The report is intended to raise awareness and understanding of the threats, debunk myths and misinformation, and highlight areas in which senior leaders and policymakers should focus their attention. Space Threat Assessment 2019 focuses on four specific countries that pose the greatest risk for the United States: China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea. A fifth section analyzes the counterspace capabilities of select other countries, including some allies and partners of the United States, and some non-state actors. This report is not a comprehensive assessment of all known threats to U.S. space systems because much of the information on what other countries are doing to advance their counterspace systems is not publicly available. Instead, it serves as an unclassified assessment that aggregates and highlights open-source information on counterspace capabilities for policymakers and the general public.
  • Topic: Security, Military Strategy, Space
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: William Alan Reinsch, Jack Capotal, Madeleine Waddoups, Nadir Takarli
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In recent decades, supply chains have become more global while bilateral and regional free trade agreements (FTA) have continued to grow in popularity. For free trade agreements to operate as intended— that is, to provide benefits to the member countries—it must be possible for goods to be identified as products of an FTA member and therefore be eligible for preferential treatment. Free trade agreements also are expected to encourage manufacturers outside the agreement’s boundaries to locate production facilities within the countries party to the agreement to take advantage of the preferential treatment for goods produced there. Rules of origin codified in trade agreements play a crucial role in shaping global supply chains by setting out rules to ascertain the origin of a good. The newly negotiated U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) demonstrates the power of rules of origin to force the many businesses that depend on the current trade agreement to alter their supply chains and business models. Analyzing the new rules, the Scholl Chair in International Business finds that the USMCA will bring new costs to both parts and auto manufacturers and consumers and may provide a boon to North American steel and aluminum manufacturers.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, NAFTA, Free Trade, USMCA, Supply Chains
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America, Mexico, United States of America
  • Author: Judd Devermont, Catherine Chiang
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana warned of the repercussions of escalating U.S.-China trade tensions on African nations. Although largely absent from the discourse surrounding the so-called “trade war,” sub-Saharan Africa has suffered from its impacts. Uncertainty hovering over global and African markets has already undermined investor confidence, triggering drops in commodity prices and local currencies. A slowdown in Chinese production and global growth could threaten to throw African markets further off balance. U.S. protectionist measures stand out for their repercussions on African economies and U.S.-Africa relations. Tariff tensions risk indirectly undercutting U.S. goals of promoting African self-reliance, increasing U.S.-Africa trade and investment, and countering China’s expanding influence on the continent.
  • Topic: Development, Hegemony, Conflict, Trade Wars
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Agnes Dasewicz, Todd Moss, Daniel F. Runde, Kate Steel
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The launch of the U.S. Development Finance Corporation (USDFC) in October 2019 is an extraordinary opportunity to accelerate capital flows into emerging and frontier markets in support of U.S. national security, development, and commercial objectives. The new agency is inheriting a fundamentally solid foundation to build upon from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). However, it would represent a tremendous missed opportunity if the USDFC merely replicated OPIC’s activities at a higher volume. This is especially the case for infrastructure finance, the sector where USDFC has the greatest potential to have impact.
  • Topic: Development, Infrastructure, Finance
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Richard Olson, Daniel F. Runde
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: This brief presents a summary of key historical events in Afghanistan since 1989 and outlines a possible worst-case scenario following a U.S. and allied withdrawal from the country. The United States, Afghanistan, and its allies must work together in search for greater Afghan self-reliance, security, and stability in order to avoid a catastrophic scenario. Only then will Afghanistan be able to free itself of foreign presences and embark on its own journey to prosperity and self-reliance.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Governance, Hegemony, Military Affairs, Foreign Interference
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Rhys McCormick, Samantha Cohen, Gregory Sanders, Andrew Philip Hunter
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Defense Acquisition Trends, 2018: Defense Contract Spending Bounces Back is the latest in an annual series of report examining trends in what DoD is buying, how DoD is buying it, and whom DoD is buying from. This report analyzes the current state of affairs in defense acquisition by combining detailed policy and data analysis to provide a comprehensive overview of the current and future outlook for defense acquisition. This analysis will provide critical insights into what DoD is buying, how DoD is buying it, from whom is DoD buying, and what are the defense components buying using data from the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS). This analysis provides critical insights into understanding the current trends in the defense industrial base and the implications of those trends on acquisition policy.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Private Sector, Military Contractors
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It is brutally obvious from the proposed U.S. defense budget for FY2020 that the United States set broad goals in early 2018 for what it called a new national defense strategy that were not supported by meaningful plans, programs and proposed budgets. So far, the U.S. has not defined how it will implement any major elements of the broad concepts it chose to call a strategy, what force changes will need to take place and at what cost, and how this will affect America's strategic partners.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Budget, Military Spending, Regionalism, Regional Power
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Matthew P. Goodman, Gordon de Brouwer, Shiro Armstrong, Adam Triggs
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The ongoing shift in global economic weight to the Indo-Pacific1 presents tremendous opportunities for the United States and Australia, along with risks and significant challenges. Both countries share a deep strategic interest in working together to keep Asian markets open, contestable, and rules-based. In doing so, Washington and Canberra can help maximize the prosperity and security of the American and Australian people, as well as those in the region. It is an opportunity too great to miss.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Asia, Australia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jonathan Hillman, Erol Yayboke
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Over the next 15 years, more hard infrastructure is projected to be built around the world than currently exists. This global build-out is already underway, and the changes it brings will only accelerate. Infrastructure projects, especially in the transport, energy, information and communications technology (ICT), and water sectors, have long been recognized as the backbone of modern economies. Going forward, emerging digital infrastructure, including fifth-generation (5G) networks, remote sensing, and other advanced technologies, will be especially critical. As our infrastructure is transformed, so will be the economies it fuels, the regions it connects, and the global commons it underpins. These trends are too powerful and potentially beneficial for the United States to stop, and too consequential to ignore.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Infrastructure, Hegemony
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Melissa Dalton
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The United States increasingly relies on allies and partners to accomplish shared security objectives around the globe. In recent years, a greater emphasis has been placed from burden sharing to burden shifting—enabling allies and partners to assume responsibility for their own security challenges through security sector assistance. Burden shifting responsibly to allies and partners requires the United States to integrate oversight and accountability measures into the implementation of security sector assistance. Oversight and accountability mechanisms for security sector assistance allow the United States to better direct, track, and calibrate its assistance to partners to ensure the full scope of U.S. policy goals are met. However, amid reforms being undertaken by the U.S. government to adapt security sector assistance policy and processes, greater clarity is needed on how to connect policy goals of oversight and accountability to planning, operations, doctrine, and training across the security assistance enterprise. This study conducted by the CSIS Cooperative Defense Project builds upon its previous initiative, entitled Oversight and Accountability in Security Sector Assistance: Seeking Return on Investment, to assess the levels of progress on implementing reforms throughout the security sector assistance enterprise and developing an action plan that addresses specific issues along planning, operations, policy and doctrine, and training lines of effort.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Hegemony
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Daniel F. Runde, Romina Bandura
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: While other countries have ramped up their economic engagement with Africa via trade, investments, and private sector financing, the United States has remained, for the most part, disengaged. Though decades-long U.S. government initiatives in Africa are indicative of longstanding relations, the reality is that these initiatives have not been enough for the United States to compete in the changing development landscape. On December 13, 2018, the Trump administration launched the Prosper Africa initiative, which seeks to open markets for American businesses, grow Africa’s middle class, promote youth employment opportunities, improve the business climate, and enable the United States to compete with China and other nations who have business interests in Africa. This short report discusses some of the challenges and opportunities for U.S. engagement with the continent and presents a series of recommendations for the policymakers driving the Prosper Africa initiative forward.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Hegemony, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Africa, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Suzanne Spaulding, Devi Nair, Arthur Nelson
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: he U.S. justice system is under attack as part of a long-term Russian effort to undermine the appeal of democracy and weaken the West. Via multi-platform disinformation opera­tions, Kremlin-backed operatives work to exacerbate existent divisions within populations and increase overall mistrust and paranoia against democratic institutions. In the process, justice systems are portrayed as corrupt, inept, and hypocritical. This report describes the nature of this threat and proposes measures for countering it. The report focuses on activities by the Russian government, including the ways it feeds, is fed by, and amplifies domestic voices to weaken public confidence in the justice system. The insights gained by examining Russia’s efforts can and should inform our understand­ing of both threats from other nations and the challenges contemporary communications technologies pose to a healthy democracy generally.
  • Topic: Conflict, Justice, Judiciary, Foreign Interference
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Daniel F. Runde, Mark L Schneider
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Northern Triangle of Central America (NTCA), made up of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, has experienced overwhelming economic, political, and security challenges in recent years. A combination of domestic challenges, including anemic economic growth, high rates of violence, and few jobs in the formal economy, have had international repercussions, such as an influx of unaccompanied minors (UACs) entering the United States in the summer of 2014 and the ongoing migration crisis at the U.S.-Mexican border.1 The United States remains a major partner for these three countries, disbursing over $401 million in foreign aid in FY2018, with strong bipartisan support for approving appropriations of $1.8 billion for FY17-19.2The NTCA countries also attract considerable foreign direct investment (FDI), surpassing $3.1 billion in 2017.3 While the United States has always played a powerful role in the NTCA region, the coverage in Washington tends to be erratic in its grasp of Northern Triangle issues. The region is portrayed as having insoluble problems with little in the way of progress. There is neither a “magic bullet” nor an “out of the box” solution to the problems of the Northern Triangle. Most of the solutions are relatively straightforward but politically hard and involve a mixture of economic, development, political, and security reforms. The problems of the region are, in fact, solvable, but they require sustained attention from the United States, political will in the NCTA countries, including cooperation rather than obstruction from elites in these societies, and ultimately strong and inclusive economic growth to go with strengthened governance.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Foreign Aid, Regionalism, Social Contract
  • Political Geography: Latin America, North America, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, United States of America
  • Author: Amy Searight, Brian Harding, Kim Mai Tran
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The United States has long historic ties to the Pacific Islands, but for many decades this region has taken a back seat to other areas viewed by U.S. policymakers as holding greater strategic and economic weight. This has begun to change as Washington has started shifting its focus back to the Pacific Islands, reaching levels of political attention in recent months not seen since the end of the Pacific War in 1945. While the Pacific Islands are important for a range of reasons, not least their extreme vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, it has been China’s recent diplomatic and economic push into the region that has caused growing concern and renewed diplomatic attention in many capitals. The United States has long enjoyed strong ties and warm relationships with countries in the region, but the calls for significantly boosting levels of engagement, dialogue, and cooperation commensurate with the region’s strategic significance are new.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Alliance
  • Political Geography: North America, Asia-Pacific, United States of America
  • Author: Seth G. Jones
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Iran is engaged in a soft war, or jang-e narm, with the United States. Iran uses formal and informal means to influence populations across the globe and has expanded its information campaign utilizing the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, cultural centers, universities, and charitable foundations. But Iran’s authoritarian political system and attempts to control access to information make it vulnerable to a U.S. and Western information campaign. Iran’s weaknesses​ suggest that a major component of U.S. competition with Tehran should be ideological.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Conflict, Ideology, Disinformation
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Sarah Ladislaw, Jesse Barnett
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The CSIS Energy Program assessed the existing academic literature, commissioned new research papers, convened an expert summit, and compiled the findings to produce Energy in America: Energy as a Source of Economic Growth and Social Mobility. This report analyzes the ways energy contributes to the challenges and opportunities facing ordinary Americans, covering the impacts of production, distribution, and consumption of energy products in the United States. The report highlights the new, extra-energy objectives that energy policy is increasingly expected to advance and evaluates their historical efficacy. We conclude that while deliberate U.S. energy policy interventions have hitherto achieved mixed results, there are promising developments and best practices that decisionmakers ought to consider.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Economic Growth, Mobility
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: William Alan Reinsch, Jack Caporal, Beverly Lobo, Catherine Tassin de Montaigu
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Trade policy is a signature issue for the Trump administration. With the 2020 election campaign shifting into high gear, candidates are being forced to talk about trade whether they want to or not. The president’s frequent comments about trade, along with his imposition of tariffs, are driving the American public to think more deeply about trade and raise their level of understanding of trade policy. For trade wonks, this is a good thing—more people talking and thinking about their favorite subject. For presidential candidates, however, it creates a dilemma: how to criticize the president without alienating the voters who seem to like his trade policy.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Elections, Trade Policy, Domestic Policy
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Brian Harding, Kim Mai Tran
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The post-World-War II era has seen extraordinary growth in international trade and the creation of regional and global trading frameworks spearheaded by the United States and anchored in the General Agreement on Tariffs (GATT) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). In recent years, frustration with the WTO’s stalled process had pushed U.S. policymakers to pursue regional and bilateral trade agreements. However, since president Donald Trump came to office in January 2017, U.S. trade policy has undergone a dramatic reorientation, creating enormous volatility and impacting global trade and supply chains. President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) on the third day of his presidency, his focus on reducing bilateral trade deficits, and his interest in only forging new bilateral trade deals have had widespread implications for U.S.-Southeast Asia economic and political relations. In many ways, the United States is no longer a predictable trade partner for Southeast Asian countries, and the uncertainty stemming from U.S.-China trade tensions is further affecting U.S.-Southeast Asia trade relations. Meanwhile, Asian regional economic integration and regional trade architecture are moving ahead without the United States at the table.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Alliance, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Asia, North America, Southeast Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Kaitlyn Johnson
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In 2018, President Trump requested that the U.S. military restructure its space offices and personnel to create a U.S. Space Force. Since then three competing visions for how the Department of Defense (DoD) should be restructured to better support its national security space enterprise have been crafted: one from the DoD itself and two from either chamber of Congress. This brief compares these three legislative proposals to create a new military service for space.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Space, Space Force
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Tom Cullison, J. Stephen Morrison
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Protecting the homeland against biological threats begins with preventing those threats from reaching our shores. The Department of Defense (DOD) contributes to overall U.S. health security through programs specifically aimed at countering biological threats from all sources—through public health activities coordinated with civilian counterparts at home and abroad and through research and development of medical countermeasures aimed at protecting U.S. Forces against health risks throughout the world. Civilian and military scientists, public health experts, and disaster planners are somewhat familiar with DOD’s health security capabilities, yet most lack a clear understanding of the breadth, depth, and limitations of DOD’s capacities. A solid and consistent U.S. policy framework has steadily evolved over the past few decades that identifies health as a national security issue and calls for a broad-based, inclusive national response to addressing the issue of health security. Now is the time to more fully integrate DOD’s unique expertise and capabilities in a more cohesive and efficient manner. This paper provides a broad overview of DOD health security activities and capabilities and also offers select concrete recommendations for strengthening the coherence and integration of DOD activities, with a special emphasis on leadership, novel diseases and new dangerous forms of resistance, surveillance, building host country capacities, and expanded exercises.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Health, Civil-Military Relations
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Erol Yayboke, Sundar R. Ramanujam
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Thanks to the generous support and cooperation from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the CSIS Project on Prosperity and Development releases this new essay anthology, Sharpening Our Efforts: The Role of International Development in Countering Violent Extremism. As policymakers confront the ongoing challenge of radicalization and violent extremism, it is important that stakeholders and counterterrorism strategists recognize the critical role for development and other non-kinetic approaches to counter violent extremism (CVE). To that end, this new anthology takes a multidimensional role mapping out the role of soft power institutions in enabling lasting peace, prosperity, and global security.
  • Topic: Development, Foreign Aid, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism
  • Political Geography: North America, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Mark F. Cancian
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: When the United States invaded Afghanistan after the attacks on September 11, 2001, and then overthrew the Taliban regime, senior military officers were not predicting that the United States would be militarily involved 18 years later. Yet, after expending nearly $800 billion and suffering over 2,400 killed, the United States is still there, having achieved at best a stalemate. This CSIS report concludes that the mission in Afghanistan expanded from a limited focus on counterterrorism to a broad nation-building effort without discussion about the implications for the duration and intensity of the military campaign. This expansion occurred without considering the history of Afghanistan, the Soviet experience, and the decades-long effort required in successful nation-building efforts. The report makes a series of recommendations: improving the dialogue between senior military and civilian officials about desired goals/end states and the implied intensity/duration of a military campaign; continuing the development of military strategists; revising military doctrine publications to include discussion of choices about goals/end states; and taking more seriously the history and experience of others.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Conflict, Strategic Planning
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Matthew P. Goodman
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The liberal international order set up under U.S. leadership at the end of World War II has produced enormous economic benefits for both the United States and the rest of the world. But recently, the order has been under severe strain, the result of shifting economic forces at home and challenges from new powers abroad. U.S. leadership remains critical to an international order that delivers broad-based prosperity for Americans and stability abroad. In a new essay collection, CSIS experts on economics, trade, energy, technology, and development share their thoughts on how the United States can reaffirm its leadership through smart policies both at home and abroad.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Economic Cooperation, Domestic Policy
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Seth G. Jones, Nicholas Harrington, Joseph S. Bermudez Jr.
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: As tensions escalate between the United States and Iran in the Middle East, Russia is engaged in covert and overt cooperation with Iran in ways that undermine U.S. national security interests. This analysis of commercial satellite imagery at Tiyas Airbase in Syria indicates the scope and proximity of Russian and Iranian military ties. If Washington wants to contain Tehran and prevent further Iranian expansion, U.S. policymakers will need to increase pressure on Moscow to curb Tehran’s activities in countries like Syria.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Intelligence, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It has been a long, grim war since the first U.S. troops appeared in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001. The fighting has now lasted close to 18 years, and the conflict has become one of the worst managed wars in American history. The effort to reinvent Afghan government as a functioning democracy has so far been an unstable nightmare mixing corruption and uncertain central leadership with power brokers, ex-warlords, and divided leadership. Efforts at economic growth and reform have fallen far short of their goals, vast sums have been wasted or lost through corruption, and the current Afghan economy now survives on the basis of outside aid and domestic narcotics exports. Major security efforts have at best produced an uncertain stalemate and one where the Afghan government increasingly seems to be losing control in the countryside in order to maintain its hold on major population centers. Three different Presidents have made major errors in overall strategy. President Bush gave priority to Iraq at the cost of giving the Afghan war proper attention and providing adequate forces to deal with the return of the Taliban. President Obama first authorized a surge — which wasted major resources in Helmand — and then called for a premature U.S. withdrawal based on totally unrealistic goals for Afghan force development. President Trump has adopted a strategy which has no clear political or economic element, and is unclear as to whether the U.S. is willing to keep supporting Afghan government military efforts or is giving priority to peace more as part of an effort to withdraw U.S. forces than to achieve a lasting and meaningful peace settlement. This report addresses the options for staying in Afghanistan, for reaching a cosmetic or real form of peace, and for some form of unilateral withdrawal. It describes the challenges in each area: the current stalemate in conflict and the debate over Afghan Government versus Taliban control, the critical problems in Afghan governance, the weaknesses in the Afghan economy, and the many remaining challenges in creating Afghan forces that can stand on their own. It addresses the challenges in cutting or removing U.S. land and air forces. Finally, it addresses critical problems in assessing and costing the current level of U.S. involvement in the war, and in estimating the future cost of supporting a peace or continuing the fighting.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Public Opinion, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Middle East, Asia, Vietnam, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: For all the furor over Iran and the Gulf, or Britain and Brexit, the most important foreign news of the month is what would normally be a relatively obscure Chinese official document: China’s National Defense in the New Era. This White Paper was issued on July 22nd in both Chinese and English. Unlike China’s previous defense white papers — the most recent of which came out in 2015 and was blandly reassuring to the point of being vacuous — the new White Paper picks up the gauntlet that the U.S. threw down in its 2017 National Security Strategy and in 2018 National Defense Strategy. Both of these documents effectively made China the key objective in strengthening U.S. military forces and single it out as America’s primary strategic competitor. China’s National Defense in the New Era is a clear and detailed 51-page response to the massive shift in U.S. strategy from a focus on counterterrorism and extremism to competition and possible conflict with China and Russia. It flags the fact that America and China are now competing superpowers, and that China’s growing military forces are developing to the point where they will be able to challenge the United States. More than that, the detailed contents of the White Paper are a direct response to the official U.S. reports on Chinese Military Power issued by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and by the Defense Intelligence Agency.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Intelligence, Military Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Charles Carson, Jonathan Robinson
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In the United States, there is currently a dichotomy: employers are unable to fill manufacturing jobs, and yet there are hundreds of thousands of manufacturing workers looking for jobs. How can this be? Many point to a skills deficit across the U.S. workforce. Much like other aspects of daily life and the economy, technology is changing the way U.S. based companies manufacture goods for the global market. As technology permeates and alters the manufacturing industry, it has created a massive boost in manufacturing productivity, while simultaneously requiring fewer workers to maintain and increase production. For those still employed in the manufacturing sector, they also need to be better equipped with the skills to handle the new demands such advanced technology and techniques impose. This report analyzes different workforce development programs for advanced manufacturing across the nation, seeking to better understand what is required to educate and retrain the worker of the future.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Labor Issues, Manufacturing, Skilled Labor
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ian Williams
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Tensions with Iran are once again increasing. The slow implosion of the nuclear accord, Iran’s harassment of cargo ships, and the downing of a U.S. unmanned aircraft have made plain the risk of conflict between Iran and the United States. The dispute should also draw attention to the questionable preparedness of the United States and its allies to fight a war with Iran on short notice and deal with that war’s blowback across the Middle East and Europe. Regional missile defense architectures are an important part of that preparedness. Iran has the largest and most diverse supply of ballistic missiles in the Middle East region, and Tehran has shown an ability and willingness to use them in combat operations.1 Iran is also learning to employ other kinds of aerial threats, such as long-range cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). In a conflict with Iran, U.S. and allied forces would likely face a wide spectrum of air and missile threats. The biggest U.S. investment in Iran-centric missile defenses has been the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA). EPAA is a phased buildup of U.S. missile defense assets in and around Europe to deter and, if necessary, limit damage from an Iranian missile attack on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Yet the EPAA architecture is heavily dependent on the nominal, unencumbered performance of a single radar deployed relatively close to Iran. This produces a single point of failure susceptible to malfunction or operator error. It also presents an Achilles’ heel that a determined or imaginative adversary could exploit. Iran certainly fits both descriptors. In 1958, strategist Albert Wohlstetter wrote that U.S. confidence in its nuclear second-strike ability was achieved only by “ignoring the full range of sensible enemy plans.”2 This same critical judgment should be applied to confidence in the EPAA as currently configured. Inasmuch as a sensible adversary such as Iran relies upon its missile forces to achieve its defense goals, it should be credited with the foresight to target single points of failure that would preclude the effective application of that missile force. Fortunately, there are practical steps that NATO and the United States can take to further adapt EPAA for greater resiliency. Upgrades to existing radars, the integration of allied radars into the missile defense mission, and the addition of air and space-based sensors would do much to improve EPAA’s capability and survivability, improving U.S. and NATO preparedness for an unexpected Middle East conflict.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, International Cooperation, Military Strategy, Missile Defense
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran, North Atlantic, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: William Alan Reinsch, Jack Caporal, Jonathan Robison, Beverly Lobo, Catherine Tassin de Montaigu
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: As the race to be the Democratic nominee for president heats up, the second round of debates between the 20 candidates offered the American public a glimpse of the different candidate’s trade policies and their values around the issue. Already we are seeing some trends emerge and divisions widen within the group on trade, which remains in the background compared to hot button policy issues like health care or immigration. Nonetheless, as President Trump continues his trade wars, trade will certainly be a topic of further debate and discussion for the election.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Elections, Trade Policy, Domestic Policy
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Rocco Casagrande
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The advent of powerful new tools in biotechnology promises to open a new era in the battle against infectious disease. This research will undoubtedly lead to better capability to predict and prevent global outbreaks, and will support the development of new vaccines and treatments to reduce the burden of outbreaks we cannot prevent. The benefits afforded by these powerful tools are not without attendant risks. The threat of biological laboratory accidents is not commonly understood to be a serious health security concern similar in significance to the threats of emerging infectious diseases and biological attacks. However, scientists are just now creating viruses that exceed the transmissibility or pathogenicity of naturally occurring strains. Also contributing to the rising risk of accidents is the entry into the life sciences of scientists from other fields and hobbyists, who may be accustomed to weaker accountability measures, enjoy less training and weaker knowledge of safety and consequences of accidents, and yet are drawn to the tools of biology because of the expansive power they afford. Unlike accidents in transportation, chemical production, or even nuclear power, biosafety accidents can result in the unforeseen and uncontrolled infection of lab personnel or their local communities, the release of a pathogen into the environment, or even the initiation of a global pandemic that could reach millions. There is abundant concern among health security experts and U.S. policymakers over the threat of pathogens being deliberately released into communities by malevolent actors and terrorist attacks. While these concerns are valid, we are not paying enough attention to the costly and real risks of biological laboratory accidents that threaten similarly dangerous outcomes. The United States is underinvesting in the science of biosafety. The resulting lack of data and active research in the field leaves the biosafety community with little understanding of how accidents are likely to occur and impedes the identification of cost- effective measures to prevent accidents. This gap in knowledge could be addressed with a modest budget of $10 million per year given to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health to fund a dedicated U.S. biosafety research program. The funding is modest because the first step is to develop a research community that focuses on these issues; currently, the lack of funding has prevented focused attention on research in biosafety. With adequate funding, this research will lead to the development of cost-effective training programs to reduce human error in the laboratory, the redesign of risky experiments to prevent outbreaks before they occur, and the identification of cost-effective investments in laboratory safety equipment, which could make the conduct of life sciences research more efficient.
  • Topic: Health, Science and Technology, Biosecurity, Medicine
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Maura Rose McQuade, Andrew Philip Hunter, Schuyler Moore
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The increasing importance of software has created an opportunity for the Department of Defense (DoD) to harness innovation through the acquisition and modification of adaptable systems that are 1) inherently multifunctional and 2) designed for continuous modification. Identifying an acquisition approach to these types of adaptable systems that are software-defined and hardware-intensive is particularly challenging from an acquisition perspective as these systems do not fall into typical acquisition phases that discretely differentiate between phases such as research & development and production. However, there are several existing enablers that, if adopted, can mitigate barriers to the acquisition of adaptable systems.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Science and Technology, Military Strategy, Infrastructure, Innovation
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Anthony H Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Afghan War has entered a critical period in which the U.S. is actively seeking a peace settlement with the Taliban, and doing so in spite of the fact that it is negotiating without the full participation of the Afghan government. Peace is a highly uncertain option. There are no official descriptions of the terms of the peace that the Administration is now seeking to negotiate, but media reports indicate that it may be considering a full withdrawal within a year of a ceasefire, and other reports indicate that it is considering a 50% cut in U.S. military personnel even if a peace is not negotiated. As of mid-August 2019, the Taliban has continued to reject any formal peace negotiations with the Afghan government, and has steadily stepped up its military activity and acts of violence while it negotiates with the United States. Terrorist groups like ISIS-K add to the threat, as do the many splits within the Afghani government and political structure. The Taliban has not encouraged further ceasefires, or shown any clear willingness to accept a lasting peace on any terms but its own. It may well see peace negotiations as a means of negotiating a withdrawal of U.S. and other allied forces and a prelude to a peace that it could exploit to win control of Afghanistan. At the same time, major uncertainties also exist regarding continuing support for the war. Some press reports indicate the Administration is seeking a 50% reduction in active U.S. military manpower in country by the end of 2019 or some point in mid-2020 regardless of whether a peace settlement is reached. Some members of Congress have called for major U.S. force cuts and shown only a limited willingness to keep up U.S. support of the Afghan government and forces if peace negotiations do not succeed. Much depends on current trends in the war, and the extent to which the Afghan Government or the Taliban are winning control and influence over the country. Much also depends on the degree to which the Afghan government forces can stand on their own if a peace negotiation leads to the withdrawal of U.S. and Resolute support forces, or if the U.S. makes major further force cuts.
  • Topic: Development, Military Strategy, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Afghan War has entered a critical period in which the U.S. is actively seeking a peace settlement with the Taliban, and doing so in spite of the fact that it is negotiating without the full participation of the Afghan government. Its options now consist of finding some form of peace, leaving the country without any form of victory or security, or fighting indefinitely in a country whose central government has no near or mid-term capability to either defeat its opponents or survive without massive military and civil aid. Peace is a highly uncertain option. There are no official descriptions of the terms of the peace that the Administration is now seeking to negotiate, but media reports indicate that it may be considering a full withdrawal of its military support within one to two years of a ceasefire, and other reports indicate that it is considering a 50% cut in U.S. military personnel even if a peace is not negotiated. As of late-August 2019, the Taliban continued to reject any formal peace negotiations with the Afghan government, and its military activity and acts of violence while it negotiated with the United States. Terrorist groups like ISIS-K add to the threat, as do the many splits within the Afghani government and political structure. The Taliban has not encouraged further ceasefires, or shown any clear willingness to accept a lasting peace on any terms but its own. It may well see peace negotiations as a means of negotiating a withdrawal of U.S. and other allied forces and a prelude to a peace that it could exploit to win control of Afghanistan. At the same time, the other options are no better. They either mean leaving without a peace and the near certain collapse of the Afghan government, or continuing the war indefinitely with no clear timeframe for victory or the emergence of an Afghan government that can fight on its own or act as an effective civil government. Much of the analysis of these three options has focused on the possible terms of the peace, the immediate progress in the fighting, and/or the coming Afghan election and Afghanistan’s immediate political problems. These are all important issues, but they do not address the basic problems in Afghan security forces that will limit its military capabilities indefinitely into the future, or the scale of the civil problems in Afghanistan that have given it failed governance and made it the equivalent of a failed state, and that will shape its future in actually implementing any peace or in attempting to continue the war.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Peace
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Middle East, North America, United States of America